2012 U.S. Healthcare: UCR or '$99,750 Ear Wax Fraud'? Aetna Wants Court to Stop Hospital’s UCR Billing

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ERISAclaim.com Offers Webinars to Examine Aetna’s Lawsuit for Court Temporary Injunction to Stop an Out-of-Network (OON) Hospital’s UCR Billing, Alleging Breach of Contract, Conspiracy to Overcharge, Tortious Interference, and Common Law Fraud. A New 2012 UCR War Unfolds in Court.

Failure to recognize the impact of the payor UCR legal actions under $99,750 ear wax anti-fraud strategies and to quickly act with compliant solutions, the OON market will most likely fail by the end of 2012.

On Dec 7, 2011, Aetna filed a lawsuit against two PPO surgeons and one out-of-network (OON) hospital, in the District Court, Harris County, Texas. Aetna lawsuit seeks to recover damages and attorneys' fees and for court temporary injunction to stop the OON hospital’s UCR billing and PPO surgeon’s referrals, alleging breach of contract, conspiracy to overcharge, tortious interference, and common law fraud, including "a bill for $99,750 for the removal of ear wax”. A new 2012 “UCR war” already unfolds in the court. ERISAclaim.com offers private Webinars to examine this court case, its profound impacts on all OON providers, and explore compliant solutions and protections under ERISA and PPACA as well as OIG Guidance.

Aetna OON UCR Case info: AETNA HEALTH INC vs. SOFOLA, IFEOLUMIPO O (MD) (Case #: 2011-73949 / Court 152)

In 2012, most out-of-network (OON) doctors, surgical centers and hospitals will “make it or break it”, depending upon the outcome of this new Aetna lawsuit, as an emerging trend in managed litigations.

“While the alleged $99,750 ear wax UCR fee may or may not be an isolated inadvertent error, the payor’s new lawsuit to outlaw all OON UCR billing as fraud certainly represents a new 2012 trend and detrimental blow to all OON providers and 77% of insured Americans in private industry,” says Dr. Jin Zhou, president of ERISAclaim.com, a national expert on PPACA and ERISA appeals and compliance.

“Failure to recognize the impact of the payor UCR legal actions under $99,750 ear wax anti-fraud strategies and to quickly act with compliant solutions, the OON market will most likely fail by the end of 2012,” warned Dr. Zhou.

According to the court documents, “Plaintiffs Aetna Health Inc. and Aetna Life Insurance Company (collectively, "Aetna") bring this action under the laws of this state against Defendants Ifeolumipo O. Sofola, M.D. ("Dr. Sofola"), Navin Subramanian, M.D. ("Dr. Subramanian"), and Humble Surgical Hospital, LLC ("HSH LLC"), for breach of contract, unlawful and excessive fees, and to recover damages and reasonable attorneys' fees for injuries Aetna suffered as a result of the Defendants' scheme to steer patients to Humble Surgical Hospital ("HSH"), a "non-participating" surgical hospital owned or leased by HSH LLC in which Drs. Sofola and Subramanian through their membership in HSH LLC had a financial interest. HSH in turn sought and received excessive fees from Aetna and its members, charging fees far higher than the reasonable charges for the same services in the relevant market.”

In particular, Aetna alleges self-referrals, cost sharing waiver fraud, non-disclosure of OON referral and UCR billing as deceptive practice to drive up the cost of health insurance:

"The self referral of an insured patient by a 'participating' physician to a 'non-participating' facility to gain direct and indirect financial benefit from the excessive fees charged by the 'non-participating' facility is a wrongful practice resulting in the unjust enrichment of both the referring physician and the facility," according to the complaint.

"To encourage patients to use HSH rather than a 'participating' hospital, the HSH staff has on occasion assured patients that they will only owe the remaining portion of any 'in-network' deductible or will otherwise not be subject to higher out-of-pocket costs," the complaint states.

"After admission, HSH submits excessive fee requests to Aetna, such as a bill for $99,750 for the removal of ear wax, that it would not be able to submit were it a 'participating' or 'in-network' hospital."

"Even when the patient is reassured that HSH will not attempt to collect more from the patient than the out-of-pocket coinsurance, deductible or other patient-responsibility charges that the patient would incur were HSH an in-network hospital, both Aetna and the patient are deceived”.

“Aetna is deceived, because by submitting an inflated and unreasonable bill for payment without disclosing its waiver agreement with the patient, HSH misrepresents the charge the patient actually agreed to pay”.

"The patient is also deceived, because HSH's intent to overbill Aetna is not disclosed, and injured, because such egregious billing practices ultimately result in the patient paying more for health care services as the cost of health care insurance rises in response to the excessive fees charged by providers who engage in this type of 'out-of-network' strategy," Aetna complains.

The ERISAclaim.com’s 2012 Webinars start at $5,000 per 2-hour session and will cover the following topics:

1.    The factual and legal analysis of payer complaints;
2.    Practical impacts of the payer complaint on all OON doctors, ASC’s and hospitals
3.    Compliant solutions, from OIG Guidance, to all alleged fraud and abuse preventions
4.    DOL: About 77% of Insured Americans Purchased Out-Of-Network Coverage in Private Industry (BLS, NBS 2010, page 11 of 167): http://stats.bls.gov/ncs/ebs/detailedprovisions/2010/ebbl0047.pdf

To find out more about PPACA Claims and Appeals Compliance Services from ERISAclaim.com:
http://www.erisaclaim.com/products.htm

Located in a Chicago suburb in Illinois, for over 11 years, ERISAclaim.com is the only ERISA & PPACA consulting, publishing and website resource for healthcare providers in the country. ERISAclaim.com offers free webinars, basic and advanced educational seminars and on-site claims specialist certification programs for doctors, hospitals and commercial companies, as well as numerous pending national ERISA class action litigation support. Dr. Jin Zhou is regarded as the industry “Godfather of ERISA claims” for healthcare providers.

For any questions, please contact Dr. Jin Zhou, president of ERISAclaim.com, at 630-808-7237.

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