Health Dept. IG Says Six Medicare Advantage Insurers Broke Rules

Health New Florida: "A multinational company and two members of the Fortune 500 were named among six insurers found in violation of Medicare marketing rules when federal inspectors checked their books and sat in on presentations as 'secret shoppers,' documents show." The three big firms were Aetna, Universal American Corp and Munich American Holding Corp.'s Sterling Insurance. The six plans insure more than 1 million beneficiaries through the Medicare Advantage program. The Office of the Inspector General for the federal health department targeted these and three other firms because of complaints.

The six firms' violations include paying sales agents more than is allowed and offering "inappropriate" incentives to outside marketing firms. Sterling allegedly used "unqualified" sales agents, the company's only listed violation. The report says other companies that were not examined are likely behaving in the same ways (Gentry, 3/31).

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