Insurer fined $100,000 for using unapproved rates

Washington insurance officials have issued a $100,000 fine to Unicare Life and Health Insurance for selling policies with unapproved rates.

The Indiana-based insurer allegedly charged unapproved premium rates to international students attending several Washington colleges, including University of Washington and Washington State University, used unlicensed insurance agents and wrongly excluded certain medical care, reported the Seattle Times.

From 2004 to 2009, Unicare sold almost 8,700 medical certificates covering 34,000 people. But the Washington insurance department later determined Unicare was using unapproved rates the entire time, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.

"You have to have your rates approved," Rich Roesler, a spokesman for the Washington Insurance Commissioner's office, told the Post-Intelligencer. "Every insurer knows that, or should know that."

Unicare also wrongly used an exclusion policy to deny coverage for conditions and injuries sustained solely out of drunkenness, despite a state law that banned the exclusion, the Times noted.

To learn more:
- see the Seattle Post-Intelligencer article
- read the Seattle Times article
- check out the Washington Insurance Commissioner press release