Plaintiffs Sabine Schumacher, Linda Cunningham, and CareCube are suing CareCube for allegedly exploiting the pandemic by charging New Yorkers unjustly for COVID-19 testing. The complaint claims that CareCube falsely claimed that they would be covered by their insurances, as required by federal law.
"They worked on the general background people had over the last couple of years that COVID Testing is free of charge," Ethan Roman, an attorney at Wittels McInturff Palikovic who is representing Schumacher, said to CBS MoneyWatch.
The suit states that CareCube's brazen profiteering enabled it to grow from a Brooklyn location three years ago to twenty locations in the city. However, this expansion has been at the cost of tens to thousands of New Yorkers who collectively have been defrauded into paying millions for COVID-19 testing.
CareCube has not replied to the suit. It did not respond to a request to comment.
Illicit profits in the millions
CareCube is accused by the lawyers representing the plaintiffs of an illegal scheme to make a profit from the global healthcare crisis caused by COVID-19. The lawsuit claims that CareCube surprised patients with unexpected bills for fake consultations and doctor visits. It also told patients that they would be reimbursed for up-front testing costs.
Roman stated that this has never happened. People discovered that their insurance companies were being billed. They were also being billed for this additional service."
Schumacher and Cunningham are domestic partners. They allege that they were each charged $225 for a COVID-19 travel test. CareCube told the couple that it couldn't reach their insurances but would reimburse them.
"Both my partner, and I, needed COVID testing right away to travel. CareCube used that opportunity to cheat us out $450," Cunningham stated in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch. It's sad that CareCube exploits people in times of global pandemics to make quick bucks, especially in New York City.
Attorney Burkett McInturff stated that they are seeking to sue CareCube for damages and to make CareCube pay millions in revenue it was allegedly "wrongfully taking from New York consumers".
The COVID-19 market is prime for fraud
McInturff stated that the COVID-19 market was saturated with scams ever since the virus took hold. Criminals have taken advantage of the complex medical billing processes to prey upon consumers.
Bad actors can take advantage of consumers when markets are opaque. Companies like CareCube can easily take advantage of people," he stated.
CareCube was already under investigation for improperly billing patients. New York Attorney General Letitia announced an investigation into how CareCube charges customers for COVID-19 and rapid polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
James stated that CareCube and all COVID-19 testing providers are responsible for being accurate and transparent with their billing processes. New Yorkers who feel they've been overcharged should file a complaint with her office if they believe they were.