|By Alejandra Matos, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The allegations reflect what local insurance representatives are saying is a growing trend of kickback schemes and staged accidents that aim to defraud auto insurers under the state's no-fault law. The law requires insurance companies to pay up to
"Today's filing of a federal lawsuit reaffirms what our industry has been saying for several years now -- that insurance fraud is rampant in
Kulda said the law needs reform to stop that abuse. But some attorneys who represent accident victims say the no-fault law protects those that need help paying their medical bills.
In Monday's lawsuit, Farmers alleges that
Contacted Monday, Appleman refused to comment on the lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims that the kickbacks were disguised as fees for leasing phones, fax machines, copiers, Internet access and other services and equipment, even though "MDI conducts its scans in a self-sufficient MRI trailer," according to the suit. From January through
A "Chiro Roster" for 2011, obtained by the insurance companies, lists chiropractors who the insurance companies say were receiving kickbacks. There are more than 90 names on the list, but the insurance companies have redacted those not named in the suit.
The chiropractors would often order medically unnecessary scans, the lawsuit claims. For example, Dr. Assiat Boke, in
Four of the 46 chiropractors named in the lawsuit, including Boke, have previously been the subjects of corrective action from the
Neither the Chiropractic Board nor the
Appleman is not a licensed medical professional. According to state records, in 2002 the
Blaming no-fault insurance
Kulda, with the
"Our hope is that policyholders will begin to more fully comprehend the real cost to them when fraud happens because of our weak state laws," Kulda said. "Lawmakers are already looking into the explosion in insurance fraud in recent years and we hope that the 2014
Insurance companies have been attempting to reform no-fault insurance in the state since the early 2000s. In the last legislative session, the
"I don't think there will be that drastic of a change," Spaulding said. "I don't believe you will find that kind of response from the insurance industry."
Spaulding said although the law may be susceptible to fraud, doing away with it is not a viable option when many people in the state still lack health insurance.
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