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Health insurance premiums have increased at double-digit rates over the past few years. While searching for affordable options, some employers and individuals have purchased coverage from certain entities that are not authorized by state insurance departments to sell this coverage. Such unauthorized entities--also sometimes referred to as bogus entities or scams--may collect premiums and not pay some or all of the legitimate medical claims filed by policyholders. GAO was asked to identify the number of these entities that operated from 2000 through 2002, the number of employers and policyholders covered, the amount of unpaid claims, and the methods state and federal governments employed to identify such entities and to stop and prevent them from operating. GAO analyzed information on these entities obtained from the Department of Labor (DOL) and from a survey of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. GAO also interviewed officials at DOL headquarters, at three regional offices, and at state insurance departments responsible for investigating these entities in four states--Colorado, Florida, Georgia, and Texas.

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