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Insurer Settles Over Student Health Claims

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A carrier has agreed to pay $5.1 million to reimburse 73,000 college plan members for a portion of their out-of-network claims costs.

Aetna Inc., Hartford, negotiated with settlement agreement with officials in the New York state attorney general’s office.

The agreement affects students at about 200 colleges, New York officials say.

New York officials allege that an Aetna unit, Aetna Student Health, used out-of-date reimbursement rates when pricing out-of-network claims between 1998 and April 1, 2008.

Aetna will issue the settlement payments to the students themselves in some cases and to the students’ doctors in other cases, officials say.

An Aetna representative says the reimbursement problems were the result of a subsidiary accidentally using the old version of a pricing database, rather than the latest version, and that it brought the problems to the attention of state authorities.

The agreement with New York state involves no fines or other penalties, the Aetna representative says.