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More on Ingenix: Massachusetts Case

Today at TheStreet.com Melissa Davis writes about a recent Massachusetts case that could provide a discouraging precedent for UnitedHealth:

Three years ago, Dr. Michael Davekos set out to prove that he had been underpaid for treatment he provided to a car-wreck victim near Boston. Davekos felt that he charged fair prices for his services and even compared notes with other local chiropractors just to make sure.

Nevertheless, Liberty Mutual maintained that his rates exceeded the charges that are "usual, customary and reasonable" -- or UCR -- for treatment in his area. After Davekos sued, Liberty finally paid most of the bill. But the insurer balked at paying the $394.77 that remained.

Like many insurance companies, Liberty relies on data supplied by Ingenix -- a division of UnitedHealth Group -- to establish rates for health care provided outside of its own network. Recently, Liberty suffered a troubling courtroom setback as a result.

"There is nothing in the record to establish the accuracy or reliability of Ingenix's raw data and, thus, its statistical extrapolations," a Massachusetts judge ruled when reviewing the Davekos case earlier this year. "Indeed, Ingenix itself prints the following disclaimer on its products: 'The database is provided for informational purposes only, and Ingenix disclaims any endorsement, approval or recommendation of data in the database.'"

Read the full article here.

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