WellPoint Ordered To Suspend Enrollment, Marketing For Medicare Plans

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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CMS on Monday ordered WellPoint to temporarily suspend enrollment and marketing efforts for Medicare plans because the company denied necessary medications to beneficiaries and overcharged them because of computer errors, Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times reports (Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times, 1/13). In addition, WellPoint improperly disenrolled Medicare beneficiaries from the plans, CMS said (Carey, CQ HealthBeat, 1/13).

In a letter to WellPoint, CMS officials said that they made the decision after the agency received a "sharp" increase in complaints about company Medicare plans.

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"WellPoint's conduct poses a serious threat to the health and safety of both its prospective and current Medicare beneficiaries," CMS said in the letter (Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times, 1/13). The issues resulted from computer problems that WellPoint has sought to address for at least the last six months.

WellPoint officials said that they have made "significant progress" on efforts to address the issues. They added, "Since we have been meeting with CMS on a regular basis regarding our remediation process, we were surprised by this recent action" (Fuhrmans/Zhang, Wall Street Journal, 1/14).

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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