UPDATE 1-WellCare $137 mln whistleblower deal official

Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:18pm GMT

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March 23 (Reuters) - WellCare Health Plans Inc said on Friday that a $137.5 million deal to settle a whistleblower suit became effective, resolving investigations by the U.S. Justice Department and the states of Florida and Connecticut.

The health insurer, which was sued over accusations that it had been overcharging for its Medicare and Medicaid programs, said it will pay the $137.5 million plus interest over a period of 36 months, and that the settlement would not have a material impact on 2012 financial results.

Resolution of the civil complaints had been held up when a whistleblower objected to the settlement. The objection was withdrawn last month and the whistleblower signed off on the federal settlement, making the resolution effective on Friday, WellCare said.

(Reporting By Bill Berkrot; editing by Carol Bishopric)

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