New York Attorney General Letitia James on Friday announced that her office secured full refunds plus interest for New Yorkers who were wrongfully charged by CareCube, a health clinic in New York City, for COVID-19 tests. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) received numerous consumer complaints about CareCube charging patients for COVID-19 tests that should have been covered by insurance plans. The agreement concludes OAG’s investigation into CareCube and requires the company to retain an independent auditor to identify and refund all patients who were wrongfully charged for COVID-19 tests from March 2020 to July 2023. CareCube must also pay the state $300,000 in penalties.
“CareCube created unnecessary financial burdens for many New Yorkers who were trying to stay safe and healthy at the height of the pandemic,” said Attorney General James. “This predatory behavior was unjust and illegal, and I am pleased that New Yorkers who were wrongfully charged will get their money back. I thank my colleagues in government for their partnership in protecting consumers and holding CareCube accountable.”
At the height of the pandemic, CareCube operated more than 20 COVID-19 testing sites in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. In 2021, OAG received dozens of consumer complaints about CareCube’s billing practices. An OAG investigation determined that the company improperly charged for COVID-19 tests that should have been free for patients where CareCube was an in-network provider with their health plans. The OAG also found that CareCube improperly charged patients $125 for COVID-19 tests for children under 18. The investigation concluded that CareCube also provided inaccurate information about billing for patients who were asymptomatic and who at the time should have also received free testing.
As a result of the agreement, CareCube must retain an auditor to identify all patients who were wrongfully charged. After the audit is complete, CareCube must send eligible consumers a refund check in the mail with nine percent interest on what they paid. Eligible consumers include those who paid for a covered COVID-19 test and/or related service when CareCube was an in-network provider in the consumer’s health plan. Consumers who paid a surcharge for an office visit for a child’s COVID-19 test will also receive refund checks.
If a patient believes they have been a victim of misleading billing practices, they should contact OAG’s Health Care Bureau online or call 1-800-428-9071.