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State insurance regulators end review of UnitedHealthcare

(Reuters) - Insurance regulators said they have stopped monitoring the claims payment practices of UnitedHealthcare , the nation's largest health carrier, after concluding that the company had met all compliance benchmarks set out under a 2007 settlement agreement.

The oversight began after chief insurance regulators from Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, and New York identified some areas of concern related to timely payment of claims by the unit of UnitedHealth Group.

UnitedHealthcare representatives were not immediately available for comment.

The insurer had agreed to pay over $14 million to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), a multi-state insurance regulatory body, in 2007 as an up front monetary assessment to settle concerns raised over the company's past practices.

Under the settlement, the NAIC monitored UnitedHealthcare's practices between 2008-2010 against certain performance standards. The company could have been liable to penalties if it had not met those measures.

In an 11-page report released Friday, the NAIC said UnitedHealthcare had met or exceeded the benchmarks against which its practices were measured, and no additional penalties were assessed. (http://r.reuters.com/nyb45t)

UnitedHealthcare will also employ an independent consultant to assist the company in the maintenance and continued improvement of its claim payment process, the agency said.

(Reporting by Zeba Siddiqui in Bangalore; Editing by Anthony Kurian, Roshni Menon)

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