DOJ jumps into yet another False Claims Act lawsuit, this time regarding the Cigna Medicare Advantage Fraud Case. The Department of Justice has joined a False Claims Act lawsuit against Cigna Corp. that alleges the health insurance provider exaggerated the illnesses of its Medicare members in order to receive higher payouts from the federal government.
Cigna Medicare Advantage, a subsidiary of Cigna, was sued in New York federal court in 2017 for defrauding the federal government of $1.4 billion by providing incorrect diagnostic codes from 2012 to 2019. According to the complaint, Cigna defrauded the federal government by providing incorrect diagnostic codes based on health conditions that patients did not have or that were not found in any medical records.
Earlier this month, the court granted the Justice Department’s motion to intervene in the case in particular regarding allegations that Cigna billed Medicare for risk-adjusted payments based on diagnoses that did not include testing, imaging, or other necessary clinical steps.
Cigna Medicare Advantage Fraud Case: a failure to document.
According to the Department of Justice, no Medicare Advantage patients received any treatment for these conditions during home visits or from any other health care provider during 2018. The DOJ initially decided not to join the case in February 2020, but reserved the right to do so. They have until September 30 to file their own case or enter their own complaint. The federal government intervenes less than 25% of whistleblower cases. DOJ joined Medicare Advantage fraud lawsuits against insurance firms UnitedHealth Group and Anthem in 2017 and 2020, respectively, on the same grounds.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, improper payments from these plans amounted to $16.2 billion in 2020, or 6.8% of all Medicare Advantage.