Illinois Issues Cease and Desist Against Unlicensed Insurer Selling Bogus Health Plans reports:

“The Illinois Department of Insurance has issued a cease and desist order banning an unlicensed insurer from issuing any more fraudulent health insurance policies.

The unauthorized insurer operates under the name ReAssurance Health Inc., ReAssurance Health Insurance or ReAssurance Health Insurance Group, and sold numerous bogus health insurance policies to people in Illinois, as well as Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.

A health insurance policy may not be sold in Illinois unless a company selling the policy is licensed and the insurance department approves the policy. The Illinois insurance department said it’s pursuing legal and regulatory action to help it identify and contact impacted consumers and determine what assets may be available to pay claims that these people may have incurred.

When dealing with offers for health insurance, beware of misleading or exaggerated promises, such as phrases using “special offer,” “limited enrollment,” “guaranteed benefits” or “affordable health coverage,” the department warned.

Last year, a coalition of law-enforcement agencies were cracking down on bogus “medical discount plans” and other plans being deceptively marketed to the unemployed and uninsured as health insurance (Best’s News Service, Aug. 13, 2010). Attorneys general and insurance commissioners in 24 states filed 54 enforcement actions to stop the practice, the Federal Trade Commission said at that time. These included lawsuits or regulatory actions addressing sham insurance, illegal robocalls, fax blasting and licensing violations.

The FTC also said it filed three suits charging companies with fraudulently marketing the discount plans. For all, it was seeking a permanent stop to the alleged illegal practices and asking the courts to order the defendants to give up the money they received from consumers it says were scammed.

In one case, a federal court in New York ordered a temporary halt to the practices of Consumer Health Benefits Association, whose telemarketers targeted people who sought information on the Internet about major medical health insurance plans. Those who chose to participate allegedly paid between $29 and $280 in enrollment fees before they received written information about the plan (Best’s News Service, Aug. 13, 2010). Among the other defendants were the National Association for Americans, National Benefits Consultants, National Benefits Solutions and others.”