Va. follows Md., freezes Carefirst affiliate's assets


Virginia insurance regulators, following up on similar moves by Maryland officials Thursday, froze yesterday the assets of an affiliate of CareFirst, one of the largest health-maintenance organizations in Maryland.

The action, taken against Virginia-based Physicians Health Plan Inc., came a day after Maryland regulators froze the assets of both HealthCare Corporation of the Mid-Atlantic, which operates under the CareFirst name, and an affiliated company, HealthCare Corporation of the Potomac.

The operations and medical services provided by the three HMOs will continue uninterrupted, regulators in Virginia and Maryland said.

Like its two Maryland sister companies, Physicians Health Plan was found to have a net worth -- the amount by which assets exceed liabilities -- below the level required by state law. The three companies are subsidiaries of Baltimore-based HealthCare Corporation of America.

"All medical services and health-insurance benefits provided by HealthCare Corporation of America, as well as our network of more than 40 health centers and hundreds of medical professionals, remain available," the company said yesterday. "The company's financial condition, which prompted the commissioner's action, is being addressed by HCCA executives, who are preparing to implement an aggressive long-term solution that will ensure that HCCA remains a vital and dependable provider of comprehensive medical services."

According to the Virginia State Corporation Commission, which regulates insurance companies based in the state, Physicians Health Plan's net worth was $533,630 as of Dec. 30, $436,256 below the amount required by regulators.

Maryland regulators found during a regular examination that HealthCare Corporation of the Mid-Atlantic's net worth was $9.1 million below state requirements and that HealthCare Corporation of the Potomac's net worth was $2.6 million below required levels.

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