The Federal Trade Commission announced Wednesday that it is mailing 50,395 refund checks totaling more than $1.1 million to consumers who were victimized by a telemarketing operation that allegedly tricked them into buying worthless medical discount plans.
In June 2012, the FTC announced that it halted the scam. Under several settlement orders, Health Care One, Americans4Healthcare Inc., Elite Business Solutions, Inc., Mile High Enterprise Inc., and their principals were barred from having any role in a healthcare-related enterprise and from selling healthcare-related goods or services.
The refund checks are being mailed by an administrator working for the FTC, and will expire 60 days after they are issued. Consumers with questions about the Health Care One refund checks should call the refund administrator at 1-877-690-7103, per the FTC’s request. For general questions about the FTC’s redress program, visit www.FTC.gov/refunds.
Health Care One and its affiliates allegedly deceived consumers by marketing medical discount plans as government-endorsed health insurance and claiming they would deliver substantial savings on consumers’ healthcare costs. According to the FTC’s complaint, filed in the Central District of California, the companies also falsely claimed that their program was widely accepted by healthcare providers in consumers’ local communities. The Health Care One companies touted their services in television commercials and radio ads. They promised “100% satisfaction” and a money-back guarantee.
The FTC warned that consumers should carefully evaluate claims about health insurance. The agency published an article on differentiating between medical insurance and consumer healthcare discount plans called “Discount Plan or Health Insurance?”