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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Federal agency continues monitoring insurers marketing private health plans

The Kansas City Star

The federal government says it will keep a close watch on insurance companies that have been cleared to resume marketing Medicare Advantage private fee-for-service plans.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said this week that it had conducted a comprehensive review of seven insurers who agreed in June to stop marketing the plans because of reports of deceptive marketing.

The agency found “vast improvements to their internal controls and oversight processes consistent with regulations and guidance for Medicare private fee-for-service plans,” CMS acting administrator Kerry Weems said.

“But we’re not stopping there,” Weems said. “Medicare’s procedures to continuously monitor all (plans’) marketing, including the activities of their agents and brokers, are now in place.”

In August, the government cleared three of the companies in question to resume marketing Medicare Advantage private fee-for-service plans. They are Coventry Health Care, WellCare Health Plans and Universal American Financial Corp., which oversees Pyramid Life Today’s Options.

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