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WellPoint spent $1.3M on federal lobbying in 2nd quarter

August 18, 2011

WellPoint Inc., the nation's largest health insurer based on membership, spent about $1.3 million lobbying the federal government in the second quarter mostly on the government's health care overhaul, which was approved last year that aims to eventually cover millions of uninsured people.

The Indianapolis-based insurer raised its spending on lobbying 17 percent compared to the $1.1 million it spent in last year's quarter, but lowered it 3 percent compared to this year's first quarter. WellPoint operates Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in 14 states and provides coverage for more than 34 million people.

WellPoint lobbied on issues tied to the overhaul's implementation and regulations for accountable care organizations, which are networks of hospitals, doctors, rehabilitation centers and other providers that coordinate a patient's care.

It lobbied on a new rule from the overhaul governing insurer medical-loss ratios, which measure the percentage of premiums an insurer spends on care and quality improvements. Starting this year, insurers must meet minimum medical-loss ratios or offer rebates to consumers.

The insurer also lobbied on rate reviews, taxes on the industry and exchanges, which will help people buy insurance.

Aside from the overhaul, WellPoint also lobbied on the Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act of 2011.

Besides Congress and the White House, the insurer lobbied the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the departments of Labor and Health and Human Services.

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