Medicare Is Probing Advantage Rates Leak, Tavenner Says

Medicare is probing the possible leak of a government decision regarding health insurers’ payments for next year, administrator Marilyn Tavenner said.

Leaks of Medicare decisions are a “huge issue,” Tavenner said in testimony before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee today.

Health insurance stocks surged on April 1 before the official government announcement on new Medicare rates, shining a spotlight on the ties among Congress, U.S. agencies and certain investment advisers. At issue is a private e-mail from a politically connected research firm that alerted recipients that Medicare rates, scheduled to drop under a preliminary decision, would increase instead.

The e-mail from Height Analytics LLC hit at 3:40 p.m. on April 1, followed by a sharp rise in the stocks of insurers such as Humana Inc. that participate in the Medicare Advantage program.

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