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Cigna pulls out of Fla. exchange, blames addiction treatment fraud

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at October 19, 2015

Citing “an exponential increase in fraudulent and abusive” substance abuse treatment practices — and in particular drug screening — Cigna Inc. won’t be offering Florida health plans on the federal Health Insurance Marketplace when it opens for business Nov. 1.

In explaining the decision, Cigna spokesman Joseph Mondy singled out stories in The Palm Beach Post detailing how fraudulent drug screening has reaped millions for South Florida labs, especially those affiliated with sober homes and treatment centers. In one case revealed by The Post, pee-in-a-cup lab work cost more than $300,000 for a single client. 

In part because of soaring costs, the 2016 Florida plans could no longer be offered at affordable prices, Mondy said.

“What is certainly going to happen as a result of this is the (addiction treatment) industry is going to get that the payday is going to come to a standstill if they don’t police themselves,” said John Lehman, president of the Florida Association of Recovery Residences. “It’s certainly going to send a pretty loud message that something needs to be done.”

The sky-high charges have exploited addicts and alcoholics seeking help, gouged insurers and spurred an FBI investigation into the area’s billion-dollar addiction treatment industry.

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