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WellCare says Medicare lawsuits are settled

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Health insurer WellCare Health Plans Inc. said Friday it has settled lawsuits alleging it overcharged Medicare programs.

In June 2010, WellCare agreed to pay $137.5 million plus interest to the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve the allegations. The company said Friday that the final claimant in the lawsuit recently withdrew his objections to the proposed settlement. The settlement went into effect Friday, and it resolved investigations by the Justice Department, and the U.S. Attorney's Offices for the Middle District of Florida and the District of Connecticut.

WellCare will make the payments over the course of three years.

The company has acknowledged it overcharged Florida and Illinois health programs by about $46.5 million. In 2009, WellCare agreed to pay about $125 million in restitution and civil penalties to settle charges it defrauded Florida and Illinois, and overstated its profits from 2004 to 2007.

Shares of WellCare rose 44 cents to $65.42 on Friday.