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Health insurance plan's bankruptcy leaves small companies, Eastern Plains governments in lurch

A health insurance plan for small companies and Eastern Plains governments is going bankrupt, leaving some clients with hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid medical claims and forcing them to scramble for new insurance before the new year.

Benefits providers from Centennial Bank in the Denver suburbs to the town of Burlington, near the Kansas border, might need to replace the lost money themselves at a time of strict budget-cutting.

State regulators, meanwhile, say they are not yet sure how much jurisdiction they have over the failing Rural Health Plans Initiative because its products appeared to be "self-funding" rather than true insurance. The Division of Insurance was trying to collect information from complaints and other sources to see how many groups were covered by the broke Centennial-based firm.

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