Illinoisans targeted in ‘phantom’ healthcare billing scam – NBC Chicago

For months, NBC 5 Responds has been looking into how scammers are using your medical information to con insurance companies into paying out big bucks in a scam that has impacted people across Illinois.

It’s the type of mail a lot of people may never even open. An explanation of benefits, or EOB, is not a bill but a letter from your insurance company summarizing the cost of health care services you’ve received. And it was here, late last year, that Leo Danielides of Oak Brook noticed something seemed off.

“It was a LabCorp bill from a place called Aman Labscorp. And I never heard of it,” Danielides said. “I think it’s called ‘Labscorp versus ‘Labcorp,’”

Danielides soon received multiple EOB’s stating his insurance had paid Aman labscorp for two Covid 19 tests that Danielides says he never had. His doctor’s office confirmed to NBC 5 Responses- it doesn’t use ‘Aman Labscorp’.

“I did start to get a little bit mad,” Danielides said.

Although Danielides never received a bill from the company personally and could have ignored the EOB, he said he taught his kids to raise their hand when they saw something wrong.

It was then that Danielides wrote to NBC 5 Responds. We searched the name “Aman Labscorp” online and found almost a dozen complaints identical to Danielides’ about the company, all referencing fraudulent charges” for tests people say they “never had done.”

NBC 5 Responses then reached out to the company’s registered agent and president, the former of whom claimed he had no idea what the complaints were referring to.

Muzamil Syed, the company’s president, told NBC Chicago that he was not at liberty to discuss the complaints and would not answer any more questions.

Next, we hit the road to track down this lab.

NBC 5 Responds tried to visit “Aman Labscorp” at the address they provided to the National Healthcare Providers database, but there’s no business there.

We talked to the owner of the Hickory Hills strip mall address that Aman Labscorp listed online.

The owner told NBC Chicago they were in talks to bring a lab here a few years ago, but that deal never panned out

The lab’s other listed address led us to an office building in Schaumburg, although there’s no physical lab or office for “Aman Labscorp” at this location either.

The location ultimately serves as a virtual office address, only receiving mail for the company in exchange for small monthly payments.

So, how does this scam impact the consumer, and is it a victimless crime? One expert told NBC Chicago that the costs will eventually fall onto the consumer.

“Well, it’s if your insurance company is being billed for things that you’re not receiving, that’s ultimately going to affect your costs over time. They’re going to raise their costs,” Todd Kossow with the Federal Trade Commission said.

Kossow explains this is likely an example of a health care fraud called “phantom billing,” where someone is billed for a service or supplies they never received.

Kossow said it ran smoothly during the pandemic, largely targeting Medicare patients.

But Kossow said scammers began focusing on private insurers, when the COVID-19 public health emergency was officially declared over in May 2023.

“What we saw after that point was more private insurers being billed, private insurers who’ve decided to continue to cover at-home test kits being billed again for tests that weren’t ordered or tests that were never received at all,” Kossow said.

According to BlueCross BlueShield, Danielides’ insurance company, that’s exactly what’s happening here.

The insurance company said the Aman Labscorp bills were “part of a nationwide COVID-19 testing fraud scheme” in a statement. The statement added that they have been dealing with this type of fraud for over a year along with “every other insurer in the country.”

In total, Danielides said the lab has attempted to bill his insurance at least nine times and counting. He said his insurance company finally stopped paying out those claims.

“I would just say from a lesson learned to the consumers is really look at those, at your bills, look at your explanation of benefits, look at what’s coming through,” Danielides said.

As for how to keep an eye out for this type of fraud, the FBI advises everyone to protect your health insurance information by treating it like a credit card and not giving it to others to use.

Authorities also advise individuals to check their EOB regularly to ensure the dates, locations and services billed match what you actually received.