Insurance company Amerigroup Corp. and its Illinois affiliate were held liable Monday for what lawyers said ultimately would total $144 million in damages for discriminating against pregnant women.
A federal court jury returned a verdict against the company that specializes in health care for low-income patients calling for $48 million in damages _ an amount lawyers said would be tripled under state and federal laws.
Besides the damages, the 12-year-old Virginia Beach, Va., company that had revenue of $2.3 billion in 2005 could be socked with additional penalties reaching well into the millions, government attorneys said.
Federal and state prosecutors as well as a whistleblower said that while marketing its services in Illinois, Amerigroup avoided pregnant women and others likely to run up high doctor bills.
That cheated the government, which was subsidizing the company to market its services evenly among all low-income patients regardless of whether they were pregnant or had costly illnesses, the attorneys said.
State Attorney General Lisa Madigan said the sizable verdict sent “a strong message that companies who contract with the State of Illinois to provide health care to its neediest residents cannot discriminate against those residents who need care the most.”
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