9/29/2015 10:14:43 AM
SAINT PAUL – Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman announced today that his agency has fined a Florida company $12,500 for running television commercials that could mislead consumers by suggesting that its health insurance products were affiliated with a government program.
"Choosing the right health insurance plan is a very important decision, and we want to make sure consumers are protected against deceptive sales offers,” said Rothman. “As the 2016 open enrollment season for health insurance approaches, consumers should not be subjected to misleading sales pitches, whether on TV, by phone or through the mail.”
According to a consent order reached with the Commerce Department, iCan Benefit Group LLC of Boca Raton, Florida, ran commercials in Minnesota that contained language and visual images that could mislead consumers into believing its health insurance products were affiliated with the government.
Licensed in the state as a non-resident insurance producer, iCan Benefit Group is subject to regulation by the Minnesota Commerce Department.
As part of its investigation, the Commerce Department requested and received all the commercials that iCan broadcast in Minnesota to sell its health insurance. The commercials included language about a “free health hotline,” “Health Care Reform” and “the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” while showing images of government buildings.
Posing as a consumer, a Commerce Department investigator also spoke by phone with an iCan agent, who suggested that the company was affiliated with the government.
In addition to the civil penalty, the consent order requires iCan Benefit Group to review its policies and procedures to ensure that its agents accurately describe its health insurance products and not use misleading or deceptive language. The company must also review all of its advertising directed to Minnesota consumers to ensure that it is sufficiently complete and clear to avoid deception.
Minnesotans with questions or concerns about health insurance sales should contact the Minnesota Commerce Department’s Consumer Services Center by emailing email@example.com or by calling 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 (outside Twin Cities metro area).