THE STATE newswire – United American Insurance Co. charged with hazardous practices
Medicare Insurer Charged with Hazardous Practices: Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Jim Bernstein Aug. 6 charged United American Insurance Company of Delaware, along with three of its insurance agents, with several violations of insurance law related to the sale and marketing of Medicare Supplement policies to Minnesota seniors. The Minnesota Department of Commerce alleges that UAIC, among other activities, marketed policies in a fraudulent and deceptive manner, replaced seniors’ Medicare Supplement policies without a “substantial favorable difference in cost or benefits,” and misrepresented coverages and benefits.
According to the Department of Commerce, UAIC has been sanctioned twice in Minnesota and has been the subject of enforcement action by 10 other states.
“It’s appalling when any insurance company attempts to increase corporate profits by taking advantage of Minnesota seniors,” Bernstein said.
Idaho Senator Boosts State’s Telehealth Initiatives: U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, received a checkup July 2 from a nurse located 200 miles away. To demonstrate Idaho’s new telehealth program, Craig weighed-in on a scale in Pocatello and placed a blood pressure cuff around his arm, while a nurse in Boise listened to his heartbeat, the committee explained. Over a video screen, the nurse was able to give Craig instructions as she monitored incoming data from the computer-attached stethoscope and blood pressure cuff. As a member of the Senate’s Appropriations Committee, Craig was instrumental in assuring that more than $3 million went to Idaho State University’s telehealth program, the committee noted.
Cigna Charged Under Texas HMO Liability Law: The first health maintenance organization to be prosecuted under Texas’ strict new HMO liability law learned the hard way that by-the-book management of chronically ill beneficiaries doesn’t pass muster. A federal court ordered Cigna to pay more than $10 million in punitive damages, as well as $3 million to the family and estate of 83-year-old Herschel Pybas, an oxygen-dependent man whom Cigna sent home in January 1999 without adequate equipment, The National Law Journal reported. Within a day of Pybas’ release, his condition deteriorated rapidly and, on Jan. 23, he was admitted to a hospital where he died on Jan. 29. Pybas’ family argued that Cigna Health Care for Seniors applied length-of-stay rules too rigidly, thus committing common-law negligence under the Texas Healthcare Liability Act.
Health Privacy Project Releases Additional Statute Summaries: The Washington-based Health Privacy Project has released revised summaries of the health privacy statutes of five states: Indiana, Nevada, New Jersey, South Carolina and Virginia. The summaries reflect statute changes that have occurred since the Project published its original report in 1999. More information is available at www.healthprivacy.org.
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