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Health Plan Scams Spread Misery
Cora Nucci, Senior Online Editor for HealthLeaders Media

This summer has been a scorcher for large swaths of the west, south, and east. For healthcare hustlers perpetrating a rash of insurance scams, August's heat has been particularly prickly. The Federal Trade Commission came down hard last week on scammers passing off medical discount plans as health insurance plans. Two dozen states are similarly cracking down.

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August 18, 2010  

Editor's Picks
HHS Pledges $46 Million to States for Health Insurance Price Monitoring
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says funding is needed because health insurance companies in many states hike premiums with little oversight, transparency, or accountability. Sebelius says Affordable Care Act provisions will ultimately increase competition, lower insurance overhead, and provide for risk pooling in health insurance exchanges in 2014, which should cut premiums in the individual market by 14% to 20%. [Read More]
Healthcare Reform Costs to Insurers May Exceed Forecasts
Starting next year, individual and small group insurers will be required to spend at least 80%—and large group insurers to spend at least 85%—of their premium dollars on medical care and initiatives to improve the quality of care. Weiss Ratings, which provides independent insurance company ratings reports that companies already in comliance with the new rules in 2009 had average net profit margins of only 0.7%, while those not yet complying had average net margins of 6.3%— nine times more. [Read More]
FTC Cracks Down on Fake Health Plans
A coalition of federal agencies has filed charges against three companies said to use deceptive marketing tactics to sell medical discount plans. The cases were filed against Consumer Health Benefits Association (CHBA), Health Care One LLC, and United States Benefits LLC. In addition to these cases, the FTC and law enforcement agencies in 24 states have filed 54 lawsuits and regulatory actions to curb deceptive practices "to stop the scammers," the Federal Trade Commission said in a statement. [Read More]
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Managed Care Headlines

Cigna hikes federal lobbying spending to $560K in 2Q, focuses on reform
CB Online/AP, August 17, 2010
Insurers find individual and small group markets newly attractive, thanks to looming mandates
Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 16, 2010
South Carolina to cover obesity surgery next year
Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP, August 16, 2010
Insurers defend limited-benefit health policies
Kaiser Health News/USA Today, August 13, 2010

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