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Posts tagged: Mike Kreidler

Health-sharing ministry ordered to stop

Samaritan Ministries, a Christian ministry-based health plan, was ordered to cease operations in Washington on Friday by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler.

The Illinois-based organization's “need-sharing” program is considered insurance under Washington law, he said, despite its unusual structure.

Samaritan Ministries members pay monthly shares of $135 to $320, plus a $170 monthly fee, to cover claims submitted by other members.

The group reviews claims, then publishes the needs for members who pay the medical bills.

Kreidler said Samaritan has not registered with the state, submitted its rates and policies for review, or met solvency requirements.

The organization says it has more than 15,000 members nationwide.

Kreidler spokesman Rich Roesler said the Commissioners Office knows of only one member in Washington.

Samaritan Ministries can appeal Kreidler's order. 

Insurers fined $167,000, will refund $470,000

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has imposed $701,000 in fines, and ordered almost $470,000 in refunds so far in 2011.

The largest fine, $534,000, was  imposed in January against six Chubb & Co. subsidiaries for failing to document rate adjustments.

The biggest refund, $415,299, will go to customers of Progressive American Insurance Co., Progressive Northwestern Insurance Co., and Progressive Max Insurance Co. The companies were also fined $30,000.

Aetna Life Insurance Co, has been fined $65,000, and will refund $16,427 to policy holders who submitted claims for acupuncture treatment.

 Fines and refunds were also imposed on Ace American Insurance Co., Homesite Insurance Co., and Austin Mutual Insurance Co.

Premera accused of “stonewalling”

Premera Blue Cross is “stonewalling” a bill that would require disclosure of information supporting health insurance rate hike applications, Washingotn Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler wrote today in a letter to consumers.

Washington's other two major medical health insurance carriers are willing to make the information available to the public before he acts on a rate application, Kreidler said.

Premera has balked, but would allow the disclosure after the Insurance Commissioner's office has ruled on a rate change.

“Under this bill, you would see what we see, including how much of your premium is spent on medical costs, how much goes to administrative costs, and how much goes to profit,” Kreidler writes.

Premera spokesman Erik Earling said the company is “perplexed” by the letter, given its ongoing efforts to work with the Legislature on the bill, HB1220.

He said Premera wants release of the rate information delayed because what an insurance carrier applies for is not necessary what is approved after review by Kreidler.

The company routinely provides individual and small groups with a breakdown of the insurance dollar, he said. 

Current law blocks the release of information filed in conjunction with rate applications.

“It's unique for us to call out an insurer like this by name,” said Insurance Office spokesman Rich Roesler.

In September, Kreidler criticized Regence Blue Shield because of its decision to stop writing policies on children 19 and under. He subsequently ordered the company to continue providing the insurance.

Chubb subsidiaries fined

Six subsidiaries of Chubb & Son have agreed to pay a $534,000 fine ordered by Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler.

An identical amount was suspended as long as the companies do not violate, for at least three years, a negotiated compliance plan that requires self-audits, among other conditions.

Federal Insurance Co., Pacific Indemnity Co., Great Northern Insurance Co., Executive Risk Indemnity Inc., Vigilant Insurance Co., and Northwest Pacific Indemnity Co. did not document reasons for rate increases and decreases as far  back as 1998.

The problems have not been corrected despite fines imposed on Chubb or its subsidiaries since 2000.

The companies could have had their lost their ability to write coverage in Washington for nine months had the consent order not been put in place.

The fine will be paid into the state general fund.

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