Poolman Takes Action Against a Delaware Business - Issues Cease and Desist
Posted on 2/20/2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Cecily Fong
February 20, 2006
Bismarck, ND - North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jim Poolman issued a Cease and Desist Order against Health Med Benefits, a Delaware Limited Liability company. Poolman said that the company has advertised in North Dakota in violation of a new state law aimed at curbing abuses in the marketing of discount medical plans.
This Cease and Desist Order is the third issued to enforce a law that was passed in 2005. Poolman said, "Once again, we have a company that is profiting by using advertising that can mislead our citizens into purchasing something that they think is insurance. To an uninformed consumer, these discount plans appear to be insurance, but it is important to understand that they are not." Poolman's order alleges that Health Med Benefits' advertisement lacked the proper disclosures and was misleading.
"We are currently investigating additional companies as well and will not stop until we get every single one of them to stop misleading North Dakotans." Poolman's office expects to issue additional cease and desists in the upcoming months. Many of the plans list a wide array of benefits for extremely low rates. The deceptive part is that there may be no providers in their community or surrounding area. In addition, the advertising for these plans rarely discloses that the consumer is responsible for paying the provider bills.
"Health insurance is vital to each and every citizen. We want to send a clear message that people need to check out these companies prior to signing up to make sure they are valid companies." The North Dakota Insurance Department advises that before purchasing any type of insurance or discount plan, consumers should call the Insurance Department's "Consumer Hotline" at 1.800.247.0560 to confirm whether a company is licensed to sell insurance in North Dakota.
Poolman has compiled a list of tips to help consumers decide whether or not to purchase a medical discount plan. Please visit the section called Consumer Tips at the Insurance Department website's homepage, www.state.nd.us/ndins. Consumers may also call the Insurance Department's Consumer Hotline at 1.800.247.0560 for the same helpful information.