OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ In response to testimony from Oklahoma's insurance commissioner, seven marketers of health care plans to older Americans have agreed to stop selling those plans to Medicare recipients, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced.
The voluntary suspension of the so-called ``private fee-for-service'' plans includes those sold by United Health Care, Humana, Wellcare, Universal American Financial Corp. (Pyramid), Coventry, Sterling and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Tennessee, the agency said.
The deal was announced in a national teleconference Friday and appears to be a direct response to testimony by Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland and commissioners from other states last month.
The commissioners said they received complaints that unwanted policies were being sold to seniors.
Holland singled out Humana Insurance Co. as a major culprit in Oklahoma.
``I'm glad the message resonated and I'm glad we were able to act on it and did act on it, and the results are this,'' Holland said.
``It's an important thing for them to do and important message for our consumers that when they go to insurance departments, we are able to make something happen for them.''
As part of the agreement signed by the seven companies, sales of the plans will be suspended until the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services certify that each company has systems and management controls in place to meet all conditions specified by the agency.
``Once they resume marketing, they will be strictly monitored as will everybody else be strictly monitored though the secret shopper process, through the complaint process and through the eyes and ears of CMS and the (Senior Health Insurance Counseling Program) and other partners out in the community,'' said Abby Block, director of the Center for Beneficiary Choices with CMS.
The agreement becomes effective on Wednesday.