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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06...

Cuomo described it last year as "a scheme by health insurers to defraud consumers by manipulating reimbursement rates."

Many Americans pay higher premiums for the freedom to go outside an insurer's network of doctors and hospitals. When they do, insurers typically pay a percentage of what they call the "usual and customary" rates for the services. How insurers determine the usual rates had long been opaque to consumers and difficult if not impossible for them to challenge.

As it turns out, insurers typically used numbers from Ingenix, a wholly owned subsidiary of the big insurer UnitedHealth Group. Ingenix had an incentive to produce benchmarks that low-balled usual and customary rates and shifted costs from insurers to their customers, the report said.

Ingenix got its data from the same insurers that bought its benchmark information, the report said. Insurers that contributed information to Ingenix often "scrubbed" their data to remove high charges, and Ingenix further manipulated the numbers, removing valid high charges from its calculations, the report said.

Cuomo found that insurers under-reimbursed New York consumers by up to 28 percent, the report said. A dozen insurers have reached settlements agreeing to change their practices; UnitedHealth agreed to the largest payment, $50 million, to help a nonprofit organization set up a new database to replace Ingenix.

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As long as it's fraud by insurance executives, I guess it's OK.

intercst
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I'm definitely for single-payor socialized medicine in this country. I just went thru three months of medical insurance hell to get myself and family covered for July 1st.
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