stock down yesterday on more than average trading volume. a group representing maryland hospitals alleged yesterday that maryland's 2 largest insurnace plans--bcbs and mdipa which mme-- have engaged in a pattern of denying payments for medically necessary care. a formal complaint was filed with the insur. dept. it was admitted in an article in the daily record --a md. legal publication-- that this problem of denying payments is not unique to bcbs and mme alone--all the hmo's do it. however, because these two hmo's are the largest in md. the complaint was filed against them. md.. insur. dept. can't do much; however, the dept. will probably seek help from the state legislature to correct these perceived abuses. there curently is hmo legislation being proposed in md. i know the legislation seeks to have the hmo's pay additional tax. this legislation for higher taxes will probably pass. the tax will supplant a valuation tax currently imposed on life insurers in md. which hmo's do not pay. hmo's also do not pay premium taxes. thus, the thinking is, hmo 's shoudl pay a part of the new tax which will replace the valuation tax which wil be repealed. tax will be split among all insurers including hmo's. large volume and stock down is not good. i do think the stock will back in the 13 plus range by the end of next month assuming expectations for 1st quarter earnings are met.
The real issue here is that Blue Cross and MME are allegedly trying to weasle out of paying legitimate hospital claims for their members. I don't believe it has anything to do with taxes.You continue to look at MME's performance and practices through rose-colored glasses, which strikes me as a less-than-wise investment stance. These days, most of the big HMOs, be they MME, Blue Cross, Aetna/US HealthCare, etc. are doing whatever they can to better their bottom lines. Trying NOT to pay claims is just another money management strategy.