Socked with more than a quarter-million dollars in medical bills despite having full health coverage, a city lawyer decided to take action — and discovered that two of New York’s biggest insurance providers may have scammed roughly $1 billion out of taxpayers, a newly unsealed lawsuit charges.
Kami Barker brought the whistleblower case against Empire Blue Cross-Blue Shield and its partner Emblem Health under the state’s False Claims Act, which provides incentives to citizens who expose fraud — offering up to 30 percent of any payout.
The 37-year-old Emory Law grad says she was shocked when the insurers stuck her with a roughly $260,000 bill for medical expenses tied to four hospitalizations between February 2012 and November 2013.
Barker, then an attorney for the city Law Department, visited in-network hospitals while battling trigeminal neuralgia, a chronic pain condition that led to recurring septic infections. The illness was unrelated to her disability. She’s been in a wheelchair since age 11.