Monday, August 31, 2009

EASTERN NEWS ZONE......

HealthMarkets Inc. announced that its subsidiary insurance companies will focus solely on marketing its ancillary vision, dental and related specialty plans in Massachusetts and discontinue marketing health insurance products in the state after Sept. 30.

The company worked with the offices of the Massachusetts Division of Insurance Commissioner and the Massachusetts Attorney General to resolve all matters related to regulatory issues with the Division of Insurance dating back to 2003, and to litigation brought by the Attorney General’s office dating back to 2004. HealthMarkets stated that given the unique environment regarding health insurance in Massachusetts, marketing only ancillary products, underwritten by its subsidiary insurance companies, is the best business strategy going forward.

This decision has no impact on the company’s marketing efforts outside the state of Massachusetts.

HealthMarkets subsidiaries have approximately 27,000 health insurance members in Massachusetts, and will continue to service those members and administer the health insurance plans currently in-force in the state, consistent with the terms of the settlement agreements.

As a result of the voluntary agreements, the company will make payments totaling $15 million to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, from which $11.25 million will be used by the Attorney General’s office to provide restitution or other relief to Massachusetts residents who meet certain criteria and $750,000 will be used for attorney’s fees and related costs. The payment includes a $3 million civil penalty and the company will be implementing a claims reassessment program under the terms of the agreement with the Division of Insurance. In addition, the companies have previously paid amounts of more than $2.1 million in claims remediation in Massachusetts since litigation commenced.