On December 18, 2003, the Hon. Marla Miller, Judge of the San Francisco Superior Court denied most of LabCorp’s motion to throw out Plaintiffs Yvonne Jansky’s attempt to hold LabCorp accountable and seek class action status in a case alleging unlawful billing and debt collection practices against LabCorp (Jansky v. Laboratory Corporation of America, SF Superior Court No. CGC-12-518072). Jansky is asserting multiple consumer remedies against the behemoth corporation for its “unlawful and unfair practice of changing codes related to screening, routine or preventative laboratory work from a principal, first-listed code to a secondary code when billing health insurers for reimbursement, resulting in customers incurring debts, becoming responsible for co-payments and premiums, and sustaining other burdens which the customers would otherwise not incur.”
The parties are now proceeding to discovery where Plaintiff expects to find more information on LabCorp practice of altering the order of codes provided by health care providers to create an economic benefit for Lab Corp while costing consumers.
When you go to a lab to have blood drawn, the prescribing physician lists the reason(s) for the laboratory work using the International Statistical Classifications of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD) codes. These codes are submitted as part of the basis for insurer’s billings. In Jansky’s case, she had blood drawn for a routine annual screening exam with the doctor listing the appropriate codes. However when it was submitted to her insurer, Jansky contends LabCorp listed the primary code not as the code listed first by the prescribing doctor for a general physical, but as a different code. As a result, the insurer did not pay the entire bill, which it would have if the codes were listed properly and Jansky got stuck with the bill for the difference from LabCorp. LabCorp then began the collection process with multiple demands for payment including the following: “Immediate Payment Required,” “[o]ur records indicate that your debt to LabCorp has not been satisfied and is seriously past due by 3 months,” “if this bill is not satisfied immediately, it will be listed as a severely delinquent account and further collection activities will proceed,” and “payment is expected today.”
Many people in this situation assume they owe the money and are not aware of the switch on the codes and either pay the bill or are subjected to collection efforts. If this happened to you or someone you know and you wish more information, contact us at 1-800-481-1615 or email us.