UnitedHealth is second insurer to sue surgery center

UnitedHealth is the second insurer to sue Bay Area Surgical Management (BASM) and its facilities, claiming the company sidesteps California and federal laws that control costs. Aetna filed a similar lawsuit earlier this year for illegally luring customers and overbilling up to 2,500 percent more than they pay providers for procedures.

In the UnitedHealth lawsuit, the insurer said the facilities submit inflated and fraudulent bills and also provide "kickbacks" to its doctors through above-market rates of return for investment in the facilities, the San Jose Mercury News reported. UnitedHealth specifically alleged that BASM-owned Forest Surgery Center billed it $32,300 for two spinal injections, a rate that's more than 1,785 percent higher than UnitedHealth's approved providers. BASM, however, called the UnitedHealth lawsuit a "strong-arm tactic." Article