In a case that could provide a cautionary tale for clinical laboratories, a federal whistleblower lawsuit alleges that Cigna, through its HealthSpring subsidiary, “received billions in overpayments from the federal government” in a scheme involving the insurer’s Medicare Advantage plans. The Qui tam (whistleblower) lawsuit was filed by Robert A. Cutler, a former officer of Cigna contractor Texas Health Management LLC (THM), under the federal False Claims Act.
Cutler alleged that “Cigna-HealthSpring has knowingly defrauded the United States through an intentional and systematic pattern and practice of submitting to CMS invalid diagnosis codes derived from in-home health assessments.” He claimed this took place “from at least 2012 until at least 2017,” and likely thereafter.
Cigna has denied the allegations. “We are proud of our industry-leading Medicare Advantage program and the manner in which we conduct our business,” the insurer stated in an email to HealthPayerIntelligence. “We will vigorously defend Cigna against all unjustified allegations,” Cigna stated.