Friday, December 19, 2014

Insurance Commissioner fines health insurer $50,000

LifeWise Health Plan of Washington has agreed to pay a $50,000 fine for overcharging 5,700 consumers $6 to $38 per month for the first six months of 2014. 

The health plans were WiseEssentials 25 and WiseSavings 20, which are catastrophic plans that trade a high deductible for a lower monthly premium. They are usually purchased by young, healthy people who want coverage in case of an injury, accident or serious illness. Each year, health insurers are required to file with the OIC their health plans--called "forms" in insurance vernacular--and the rates they will charge for each plan. The OIC then reviews and ultimately approves the plans and rates, working with the insurers when they need to. 

In this case, the 2014 rates that LifeWise filed for those catastrophic plans had decreased slightly, depending on the enrollee’s age, because the deductible increased. From January through June 2014, LifeWise charged those consumers rates that were based on the 2013 plans, which had higher deductibles.

As part of the agreement, called a consent order, LifeWise will repay the affected consumers the amounts they overpaid plus 8 percent annual interest. View the consent order here

You can search our disciplinary orders or file a complaint against an insurance company, agent or broker on our website.