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WellCare names former SEC commissioner to board

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Health insurer WellCare Health Plans Inc. has named a former commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission to its board of directors.

The Tampa, Fla., company, which has shelled out millions in fines and settlements in recent years, said Thursday it appointed lawyer Roel C. Campos, 63, who served as SEC commissioner from 2002 to 2007.

"His long history of public service and his deep understanding of regulatory compliance and corporate governance will help guide WellCare to further enhance its relationships with federal and state governments to provide quality, cost-effective health care to its members," WellCare Chairman Charles G. Berg said in a statement from the company.

WellCare mostly administers the state and federally funded Medicaid program, which provides coverage for poor and disabled people. It also sells Medicare prescription drug coverage and Medicare Advantage plans, which are privately run versions of the government's Medicare program for elderly and disabled people.

WellCare agreed last year to pay $137.5 million to settle four lawsuits involving fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid claims in nine states. The suits claimed the insurer falsely inflated the amount it claimed to be spending on medical care to avoid returning the money to Medicaid and other programs.

They also accused the company of knowingly retaining overpayments received and falsifying data that misrepresented the medical conditions of patients and treatments they received.

In 2009, WellCare also said it would pay a $10 million civil penalty plus interest to resolve a SEC investigation involving company filings. The insurer has said it restated results from 2004 into 2007, and it overcharged the states of Illinois and Florida and overstated its profits due to accounting errors.

WellCare's stock climbed a penny to $47.01 in Thursday morning trading, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index also rose less than 1 percent.