UnitedHealth the second insurer to sue defunct urine screening lab

gavel and books

Less than a year after Cigna filed civil claims against Sky Toxicology, UnitedHealthcare has filed a similar lawsuit against the defunct Texas urine screening laboratory, claiming it paid $50 million for unnecessary drug screening tests, according to the Palm Beach Post.

United alleges that Sky orchestrated a kickback scheme in which addiction providers throughout Florida were offered company shares that paid out thousands of dollars a month in dividends as long as treatment centers provided referrals for expensive urine drug screening tests.

The allegations mirror those brought by Cigna last year in a $20 million lawsuit that was settled out of court, according to the article. The laboratory is also facing a joint investigation from federal and state agencies, but no charges have been filed.

United also named Jeffrey Cohen, a Florida attorney and an indirect investor in Sky, in the suit. The insurer claims Cohen assured providers that the arrangement was "above board," even though Sky was allegedly tracking referrals from addiction treatment owners and holding payments to those that didn't submit enough.

The allegations against Sky are just one part of Florida's addiction treatment industry that has been overrun with fraud and abuse, prompting payers to increase audits or pull out of the Florida's healthcare marketplace altogether. Last year, another urine screening company, Millennium Health, paid more than $250 million to the federal government to settle claims it billed for unnecessary tests.

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