Eighteen HMOs in New York State have agreed to pay $4,000 each in fines, improve training for employees who answer consumer information requests, and develop plans for fully complying with the state's Managed Care Bill of Rights.

The HMOs reached agreement with the Health Department and the attorney general after the state said it would sue the plans for failing to provide legally required information to callers.

Eighty percent of the total $72,000 in fines will be given to not-for-profit consumer outreach groups.