The fine levied against Unicare Life and Health Insurance Co. covers policies to many international students at local colleges.
The state’s Insurance Commissioner has fined an Indiana-based medical insurance company $100,000 for charging international students at local colleges premium rates that weren’t approved by state regulators, using insurance agents who weren’t licensed and wrongly excluding certain medical care.
The fine levied against Unicare Life and Health Insurance Co. covers policies to many international students at the University of Washington, Washington State University and Seattle Pacific University, as well as Bellevue, Shoreline, Tacoma and South Puget Sound community colleges, among others.
The state insurance office said the company, which was fined for premium rates on policies issued from mid-2004 to mid-2009, continued to use a policy exclusion that allowed them to deny coverage solely because an injury was sustained while the patient was intoxicated, despite a state law banning that exclusion in 2004.
The problems were discovered when state regulators conducted a “market-conduct study,” which typically pulls in three to five years’ worth of documentation and inspects a selection of randomly selected claims and documents.
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The company said it couldn’t provide supporting documentation for rates because the employees who had prepared the information no longer worked for the company.
While the state normally pushes for refunds of charges, the insurer maintained that the students actually paid less for policies with unapproved rates than they would otherwise have paid, the insurance commissioner’s office said.
Carol M. Ostrom: 206-464-2249 or email@example.com. On Twitter @costrom.