Vermont insurer to pay members for improper denials

More than 200 students in Vermont will be repaid for claims denied by their health insurer, according to the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation.

On Dec. 3, the department reached a $1.8 million settlement with South Carolina insurer Companion Life Insurance Co. The settlement resolved allegations that the health insurer sold health insurance to students at 10 universities even though the plans didn't meet state and federal requirements.

The department said Companion didn't file its policies for approval with Vermont officials, and even if the insurer had, the department wouldn't have approved them. The plans lacked legally required coverage for preventive screenings, contraceptive management, mental health and substance misuse treatment, and athletic injuries, the department said. The insufficient coverage led to improper denials for 212 students.

Under the $1.8 million settlement, Companion agreed to allocate $225,000 to the Vermont Legal Aid's Office of the Health Care Advocate, which will use the funds to educate students about health insurance.

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