UnitedHealth Beats $11M Lawsuit Over Urine Testing Claims

Employee Benefits News examines legal developments that impact the employee benefits and executive compensation employers provide, including federal and state legislation, rules from federal...

By Jacklyn Wille

A Florida substance abuse treatment center lost its lawsuit accusing UnitedHealth of wrongly denying up to $11.3 million in claims related to urinalysis drug testing services.

A federal judge March 29 dismissed Living Tree Laboratories LLC’s lawsuit after finding the treatment center didn’t provide enough information about the UnitedHealth insurance plans at issue. Living Tree failed to link particular patients with their health plans or identify the plan terms that UnitedHealth allegedly violated by failing to cover urine testing services, the judge said.

Living Tree has two weeks to file a new lawsuit that includes more specifics about UnitedHealth’s plans.

UnitedHealth has locked horns with a number of toxicology labs over urinalysis testing in the past several years. In 2016, the insurer came up short in its effort to hold a group of Florida labs liable for an alleged fraudulent kickback scheme that the insurer claimed cost it more than $50 million. UnitedHealth is currently litigating a $100 million case against a Dallas-based drug testing company that the insurer accused of paying people $50 to urinate in a Whataburger restaurant bathroom and then billing the insurer for testing services.

The Living Tree decision was written by Judge Darrin P. Gayles of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Agentis Law represented Living Tree. Akerman LLP represented UnitedHealth.

The case is Living Tree Labs., LLC v. United Healthcare Servs., Inc., 2018 BL 109576, S.D. Fla., No. 1:16-cv-24680, order dismissing lawsuit 3/29/18.

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