The Bureau of Insurance said United States Contractors Trust, Real Benefits Association, Metropolitan Business Alliance LLC (also known as National Association of Business Leadership, NABL), and Access Health Now must stop doing business in Maine and pay penalties of $260,000 resulting from a “fraudulent health insurance scheme.”
The bureau investigated after consumer complaints of unpaid medical bills.
“Unlicensed insurance activities must be reported and stopped,” said Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa in a release. “Maine policyholders paid their premiums, but received little to no benefit in return. Anyone seeking to purchase insurance can always contact the Bureau to make sure the company is licensed in Maine.”
The four companies are well known across the country and have been the target of a number of similar actions by state regulators and law enforcement groups.
In Maine, the bureau’s placed a cease and desist order on the companies which have left consumers with “crushing medical expenses” when they had been paying for what they thought was health insurance.
In the bureau’s cease and desist order the experiences of a 63-year-old substitute teacher, who had seen TV ads for the insurance offerings and called the associated toll-free number, are recounted.
“She began paying monthly premiums of $242 in April of 2009, and she received an insurance card issued by Real Benefits Association. In July of 2010, she had surgery, incurring medical bills totaling $12,644.55,” it stated in the order. “When she called the number on her card, she was told there had been a change in her health plan. She was mailed a new insurance card issued by USCT, which listed April 1, 2009, as the effective date of her USCT coverage. However, when she called the number on her new card, she was told her claim payment would be delayed due to a backlog.
“After paying the respondents thousands of dollars for this coverage, [the woman] remains responsible for substantial medical bills that she cannot afford to pay.”
None of the companies are licensed in Maine.