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State Seeks $1 Billion From Insurer it Says Botched 130,000 Claims

California regulators are seeking fines of more than $1 billion from the health insurer PacifiCare. State officials accuse the company of mishandling some 130,000 claims. KPBS reporter Kenny Goldberg

State Seeks $1 Billion From Insurer it Says Botched 130,000 Claims

California regulators are seeking fines of more than $1 billion from the health insurer PacifiCare . State officials accuse the company of mishandling some 130,000 claims. KPBS reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.

State regulators launched an investigation of PacifiCare after receiving hundreds of complaints from consumers and providers. Investigators say they uncovered a virtual meltdown in the company's claims paying operations.

San Diego doctor Ted Mazer says he's had a miserable time trying to collect money from PacifiCare.

Mazer : It's awful. I've spent hours doing appeals on denied or unpaid claims. That's time that I ought to be spending with patients or spending with my family.

Company officials say the problems started when PacifiCare merged with the large insurer UnitedHealth in 2006. Executives admit they tried to do too much too fast. The company says it's cooperating with state regulators.

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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