Wisconsin To Settle Charges Over Sale Of Medicare Advantage Plans

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Humana has agreed to pay $750,000 to the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance to settle allegations that some of the company's agents who sold Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug plans in the state were unlicensed and in violation of other insurance laws, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

State Insurance Commissioner Sean Dilweg, who also chairs a National Association of Insurance Commissioners task force on senior issues, launched an investigation of Humana's marketing practices in response to 683 complaints from consumers that the state received between Jan. 1, 2006, and May this year and as a follow-up to an earlier probe. Dilweg last year testified at a Senate hearing on the issue of insurers' aggressive marketing practices.

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According to Humana, Wisconsin state regulators found problems with 62 of the company's 5,288 agents and less than 0.1% of the health plans that were sold. In a statement, the company said, "Even one such error is too many, and we are committed to addressing these issues quickly and thoroughly." Dilweg said, "We had agents that really weren't properly certified or licensed selling (insurance) products, and that is a huge concern because they may not be suitable for seniors."

Dilweg declined to confirm if his office is reviewing the MA plan marketing practices of other insurers, but said that CMS must increase its efforts to help consumers who bought the health plans under the improper conditions. He said, "Right now, my hands are tied as it relates to some of the company abuses" (Marley/Boulton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9/9).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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