Kaiser Health News reports that UnitedHealth, a major managed health care company, is being charged by the Justice Department with fraud in the management of their Medicare Advantage programs:
The Justice Department on Tuesday accused giant insurer UnitedHealth Group of overcharging the federal government by more than $1 billion through its Medicare Advantage plans.
In a 79-page lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, the Justice Department alleged that the insurer made patients appear sicker than they were in order to collect higher Medicare payments than it deserved. The government said it had “conservatively estimated” that the company “knowingly and improperly avoided repaying Medicare” for more than a billion dollars over the course of the decade-long scheme.
A billion here and a billion there and pretty soon you’re starting to talk about real money. $1 billion is not a negligible sum, even for UnitedHealth which accounts for about a third of all of those covered under Medicare Advantage plans.
It also makes me wonder about the other plans.