WellCare To Suspend Medicare Health Plans
Florida based WellCare, responding to a letter from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, will suspend marketing of, and enrollments into, its Medicare health insurance plans.
WellCare had announced last year that it would offer a national Medicare Advantage drug plan starting in 2009. The Florida health insurance provider says in its release below that the current enrolled customers will not be effected by the CMS action.
The health insurance provider does not disclose the content of the CMS's letter, but according to Florida based Sun-Sentinel "Medicare on Friday banned a leading health plan from enrolling new members because of persistent violations, such as misleading people about its coverage, not covering care and not solving complaints."
The company writes that WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) is working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) to address issues raised by the agency in a letter that imposed sanctions on the Company’s Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans. By March 7, 2009, WellCare will suspend marketing of, and enrollments into, its Medicare health plans.
“We take CMS’ concerns very seriously,” said Heath Schiesser, WellCare’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are committed to complying fully with CMS requirements and serving the needs of our members.”
WellCare is making significant efforts to improve operational effectiveness to address the issues identified by both CMS and the Company’s own monitoring. WellCare will continue to devote substantial resources towards these initiatives, including engaging independent third parties to ensure that all of its operations and marketing activities are compliant with CMS’ requirements.
Current members of WellCare’s Medicare health plans are not affected by CMS’ action. Further, this action does not affect the Company’s Medicaid and S-CHIP plans. All plan members continue to have access to covered health care services.
This action arose from oversight and audits conducted by CMS. The Special Committee of the Board and the Company continue to cooperate fully in the separate investigations previously disclosed.
On September 25th of 2008 WellCare had announced that it would offer a national Medicare Drug plan starting in 2009.
Medicare beneficiaries may obtain more information about WellCare's 2008 Medicare Part D PDP plans by calling WellCare at 888-547-5252 (TTY users call 888-816-5252) between 7:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. ET, seven days a week, or by visiting www.wellcarepdp.com. The web site includes information about the plans as well as a complete list of covered drugs and the pharmacy network of approximately 60,000 participating pharmacies. Information about 2009 plans is expected to be available after October 1, 2008.
WellCare Health Plans, Inc. provides managed care services exclusively for government-sponsored healthcare programs, focusing on Medicaid and Medicare. Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, WellCare offers a variety of health plans for families, children, the aged, blind and disabled and prescription drug plans. The Company served more than 2.5 million members nationwide as of September 30, 2008. For more information about WellCare, please visit the Company’s website at www.wellcare.com.