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Weekly health insurance roundup: October 25-29, 2010 Posted: October 29th, 2010

By Maryalene LaPonsie

The big news this week is that the State of New York continues to crack the whip on health insurance companies for paperwork violations. Health Net is the latest to be slapped with a fine for failing to meet state guidelines. Meanwhile, UnitedHealthcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield are offering new service options for their members.

Health Net learns the hard way to mind its Ps and Qs

Last month, Aetna was caught in the crosshairs of the State of New York and now it is Health Net's turn. Both health insurance companies were penalized for failing to properly mail benefit explanation forms and inform subscribers of their appeal rights.

However, while Aetna was fined $850,000, Health Net received a double dose of state-sponsored justice when it was fined $1.9 million for making late claim payments as well as making documentation errors. The company admitted to its mistakes but argued that they weren't intentional. To which the State of New York Insurance Department replied, 'too bad.'

Blue Cross Blue Shield wants you to be well

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in Nevada is working to make sure residents of the Silver State stay healthy. The insurer's MyHealth Advantage Program sends personalized letters called MyHealth Notes to subscribers based upon their health history. These offer suggestions and recommendations to improve individual health care. In addition, a MyHealth Note may be sent to a physician if the subscriber's medical record shows that they are failing to fill critical prescriptions or follow through with essential preventive care.

Then, we wouldn't want to disappoint regular readers of the weekly roundup who are undoubtedly waiting with bated breath to see what award Blue Cross Blue Shield won this week. Well, wait no more! This week's winner is Capital BlueCross in Pennsylvania which received Silver honors for Health Care Consumer Empowerment and Protection from the accreditation organization URAC.

UnitedHealthcare hopes you'll love their Medicare Advantage plan

With open enrollment for Medicare beneficiaries just around the corner, UnitedHealthcare has unveiled its 2011 Medicare Advantage plans. The private health plans allow seniors and certain disabled individuals to bundle their Medicare hospitalization coverage with medical insurance and other health care services. The company will also offer Medicare Part D plans that provide prescription drug coverage.

In our final news tidbit for the week, UnitedHealthcare announced that its member company, Prescription Solutions, has been re-certified under the Transparency in Pharmaceutical Purchasing Solutions (TIPPS) initiative. This marks the third time the pharmacy benefits organization has met the TIPPS criteria.