LOS ANGELES (AP) — California’s seven largest health insurers face nearly $5 million in fines for allegedly failing to pay hospitals and physicians fairly and on time.

California Department of Managed Health Care Director Cindy Ehnes says improper claim payments are burdening health providers as they struggle to stay afloat in a bad economy.

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The regulator says audits found seven health plans weren’t meeting a legal threshold of paying 95 percent of claims correctly.

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Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California are being fined $900,000 each, and United/Pacificare is being fined $800,000. HealthNet and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan are being fined $750,000 each; Cigna is being fined $450,000; and Aetna is being fined $300,000.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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