Thursday, August 3, 2006
Texans deserve to have access to quality health care coverage works for them, not duped into paying lots of money for false, empty promises, said Attorney General Abbott. This company marketed itself as a cure-all for consumers whose hopes of finding health care coverage had faded, and, as that old saying tells us, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
The Attorney General’s investigation leading to the original lawsuit filed in April 2005 found that IAB made unfounded claims that its plans were recognized by numerous hospitals, clinics, physicians and pharmacies. When consumers attempted to use the discount cards they were told the cards were invalid, but only after they had paid up-front enrollment fees to become members and had authorized IAB to make monthly withdrawals from their checking accounts.
Under the terms of today’s order, IAB may only assess plan enrollment fees if they are of a nominal amount that reflect the actual cost of enrolling clients, and the company clearly explains the purpose of the fees and the terms of any refund policy. If IAB advertises money back guarantees, it must makes full refunds to consumers requesting them, including enrollment fees and monthly recurring fees. The Attorney General filed his original lawsuit, in part, based on complaints that IAB repeatedly failed to honor these claims, a violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
IAB also agreed to pay civil penalties and state attorneys’ fees of $150,000 and will make refunds to current or former clients who file complaints with the Attorney General or the Better Business Bureau about the company’s practices.
Texas consumers who wish to file complaints against this company or others misleading the public may contact the Attorney General toll-free at (800) 252-8011 or file a complaint online at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov