One of the most popular Medicare Advantage programs in Miami-Dade, Leon Medical Centers Health Plans, has been barred from enrolling new members or marketing its coverage to South Florida seniors after federal regulators on Friday imposed sanctions stemming from an audit that found widespread deficiencies at Cigna-HealthSpring, the parent company of Leon Medical’s health plan.
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services halted enrollment and marketing of Cigna’s Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans across the country after finding “widespread and systematic” failures that resulted in members experiencing delays or denials in medical services and prescription drugs, and increased out of pocket costs.
The suspension does not affect benefits for current members. Cigna has 493,000 Medicare Advantage customers in 18 states and Washington, D.C., including about 44,000 in Miami-Dade’s Leon Medical health plan. Cigna also has 1.5 million Medicare prescription-drug plan customers across the country.
Herb Fritch, president of Cigna-HealthSpring, issued a statement Friday noting that the company is cooperating fully with federal regulators.
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Prior to its acquisition by Cigna, HealthSpring had bought Leon Medical Centers Health Plans for $400 million in 2007. The health plan’s members get most of their treatment at seven Leon Medical Centers, which continue to be owned and operated by the founding Leon family.