Attorney General James Secures $300,000 from CareCube for Wrongfully Charging New Yorkers for COVID-19 Tests

CareCube to Fully Refund New Yorkers Who Were Wrongfully Charged for COVID-19 Tests and Pay Penalties

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today 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. Today’s 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.”

“CareCube exploited vulnerable New Yorkers seeking essential services during a time of crisis,” said New York City Comptroller Brad Lander. “This type of deception erodes people’s trust in our medical facilities, which is why I am pleased to see the Attorney General's commitment to providing full refunds to those who were deceitfully charged by CareCube for COVID-19 tests. This sends a strong message to companies that health care fraud in New York will not be tolerated and ensures that the affected individuals get the justice they deserve.” 

“Last year, we stood outside of CareCube to send a clear message: New York will act to protect its consumers, especially during vulnerable times,” said State Senator Zellnor Y. Myrie. “I'm proud we enacted the COVID-19 Fraud Accountability Act, and pleased the Attorney General has continued the fight against unscrupulous billing practices. New Yorkers should feel confident their government will defend their interests against businesses only concerned with their bottom line.” 

“There will always be companies looking to take advantage of vulnerable consumers,” said Assemblymember Nily Rozic. “CareCube is finally being held responsible and patients are being refunded. We cannot undo the harm that was caused but we can make sure future perpetrators know that we will bring them to justice if they attempt to defraud consumers.” 

“I saw firsthand people being unfairly charged by CareCube at their site down the block from my district office and received numerous complaints about CareCube from constituents conscientiously seeking tests to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Assemblymember Robert Carroll. “I reported what was occurring to Attorney General James and commend her for taking action against CareCube for their deceitful and predatory practices. It is disgraceful that businesses were profiteering during the city’s hour of need. This settlement provides a modicum of relief to those wronged by CareCube, and I hope serves as a warning to other businesses who may unscrupulously seek to take advantage of a crisis.” 

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 today’s 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. 

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Adrienne Lawston and Michael D. Reisman of the Health Care Bureau under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Leslieann Cachola and Bureau Chief Darsana Srinivasan. The Health Care Bureau is part of the Division for Social Justice, led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Meghan Faux and overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.