Ill. seeks to liquidate HMO with nearly 90,000 members

February 26, 2000|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

CHICAGO -- Illinois insurance regulators moved yesterday to liquidate one of the states largest health maintenance organizations in a rare move that eventually could force nearly 90,000 people into a new health plan.

The Illinois Department of Insurance filed its petition against American Health Care Providers Inc. of Richton Park, Ill., alleging that a financial review shows that the HMO is being mismanaged.

American is insolvent by state standards with $25 million more in liabilities than it has assets after running up millions of dollars in unpaid bills to doctors and hospitals while carrying inadequate reserves, according to the states petition filed in Cook County Circuit Court.

Enrollees are in jeopardy of losing their ability to obtain prompt medical services, said Richard Darling, estate issues officer for the Illinois Department of Insurance.

American denies the states accusations and plans to fight the liquidation at a hearing next month. The company will have the chance to respond to the states allegations before the court decides whether the HMO should remain in business.

If the state succeeds in liquidating American, customers would have to choose another health plan. State insurance regulators, however, say their move will help customers by preventing them from being held liable by doctors or hospitals for bills, other than deductibles or co-payments.

American has been besieged with complaints from consumers who arent getting their claims paid while hospitals and doctors say the HMO owes them millions of dollars, Darling said.

The HMOs own records indicate a solid financial picture, said Asif Sayeed, Americans founder and chief executive officer.

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