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United Health Care Insurance settles

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WASHINGTON, Dec 13, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The United Healthcare Insurance Co. has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle allegations of Medicare fraud, the U.S. Justice Department said Monday.

The government alleges beginning in or about 1996 and continuing through 2000, United Healthcare's telephone response unit knowingly mishandled some phone inquiries received from Medicare beneficiaries and providers and then falsely reported its performance information to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The center is the federal agency charged with administering the Medicare program.

From 1995 to 2000, United Healthcare acted under contract with CMS to process Medicare Part B claims for durable medical equipment submitted to it by Medicare beneficiaries, physicians, and other health care providers and suppliers located in the northeastern United States.

The allegations of improper conduct were brought to the attention of the government by a former United Healthcare employee, who filed suit under seal in November 2001, and will receive $647,500 of the settlement amount.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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