Amerigroup may settle Medicaid fraud charges soon

An Illinois health plan that refused to enroll high-risk patients in its Medicaid plan may soon be settling a lawsuit brought by state and federal authorities for a whopping $334 million. Amerigroup Corp., based in Virginia, was ordered in 2006 to pay $144 million in damages to Illinois and the federal government. Later, a federal judge added another $190 million in civil fines against the company, which was found to have filed more than 18,000 false Medicaid claims. Originally, Amerigroup appealed the verdict, but later it entered into settlement talks with the plaintiffs.

Charges against Amerigroup were originally filed in 2002 by Cleveland Tyson, former vice president of government relations at the plan's Illinois subsidiary. His lawsuit then prompted an investigation by the state attorney general and the U.S. Attorney in Chicago, who later joined the whistle-blower suit. As the original whistle-blower, Tyson could see a payout of 15 percent to 25 percent of the total judgment.

To learn more about the case:
- read this Chicago Tribune article

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