May 26, 2009                                                         Contact:Lucas Hamilton

Lindeen Shuts Down Unregistered Medical Care “Discount Card” Supplier


      Florida man will pay $25,000 in fines and $9,173.85 in restitution to Montana Consumers
      
      Helena – Montana State Auditor Monica Lindeen ordered a Florida man to stop selling unregistered medical discount cards in Montana. Companies selling medical care discount products are required to obtain a certificate of registration from the Montana Department of Insurance before selling their products.
      
      “These companies are not licensed to sell medical care discount cards in the State of Montana.” Lindeen said. “Simply stated, these people and their companies are scamming Montana consumers under the guise of offering legitimate discounts for health products and services.”
      
      Lindeen says the company does not have contracts with participating providers in the state who will honor the discount that they are offering.
      
      Lindeen’s office launched an investigation into the company DNH Consulting Group LLC and its manager Erik Devash after receiving complaints from Montana consumers who had purchased the discount card. The company did business as “Health Services” and solicited Montana consumers with telephone solicitors. The Department of Insurance issued a cease and desist order and negotiated a settlement according to which DNH will agree to permanently cease doing business in Montana, pay full restitution to all Montana consumers who purchased the product, and pay a fine to be deposited into the general fund.
      
      Investigators for Lindeen said that Devash sold bogus health products to 28 Montana residents.
      
      “With insurance premiums on the rise, consumers are searching for ways to obtain medical care coverage at a manageable cost,” said Lindeen. “These companies are preying on folks who are trying to find alternative solutions to the high cost of health insurance. Our main goal is protecting Montanans while aggressively pursuing bad actors in the industry who are exploiting the health care crisis facing consumers.”
      
      Oftentimes, fraudulent companies pocket the payments from consumers and rarely provide reimbursement for any medical conditions or do not provide the benefits promised. Consumers should be on the lookout for red flags that can indicate bogus deals. For instance, consumers should be wary of unsolicited offers, often faxed or made by telemarketers.
      
      Before making a decision on health insurance and discount cards, Lindeen urges Montanans to first verify the legitimacy of a health insurance or medical care discount card product by contacting the Exams Bureau of the State Auditor’s Office toll-free at 1-800-332-6148 or in Helena at 444-2040. “Fortunately, Montana law gives us the tools to crack down on phony health insurance products,” said Lindeen. “My office can also help Montanans make smart choices about insurance and medical discount cards – but people need to pick up the phone and call us to check out an offer before moving forward.”