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U.S. Steel sued over health plan

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Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011

A former employee claims in a federal lawsuit that U.S. Steel Corp., Downtown, misled him into enrolling in a Medicare program when he should have remained on the company's health plan.

William E. Brown claims the government program paid about $750,000 in medical claims that the company's health plan should have covered. He also claims the company pressured other employees to enroll in Medicare and file thousands of claims that should have been handled by the company plan.

U.S. Steel has made no effort to reimburse Medicare, the lawsuit says.

Brown is suing under a statute that allows private citizens to pursue claims on behalf of the United States. If he wins, he would receive up to 30 percent of the damages awarded to the government.

The lawsuit was filed in May. The case was sealed until this week to give the government time to decide whether it wanted to intervene. The government filed notice Tuesday that it won't become involved.

U.S. Steel spokeswoman Courtney Boone declined to comment.

Brown says in the lawsuit that he was injured in a work-related motor vehicle accident in 1981. He was advised by a company official in 1986 to take a disability retirement because U.S. Steel was closing its plant in Duquesne.

In 1992, company officials told him to enroll in Medicare Part B coverage because he no longer would be covered by the company's health plan, the lawsuit says. The Social Security Administration determined in 2005 that Brown had been improperly enrolled in Medicare and that the program had paid about $750,000 in claims that should have been paid by U.S. Steel's health plan, the lawsuit says.

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