ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - The Minnesota Department of Commerce has issued a $50,000 fine and a Cease and Desist order to a California company that purchased the website Medicare.com and allegedly mailed more than 600,000 misleading letters to elderly Minnesotans. The state says those letters warned about the discontinuation of certain Medicare plans and offered services to obtain a new plan.
The Commerce Department says Gold River, Calif.-based eHealthInsurance Services prominently branded the mailed letters and its website with “Medicare.com” and “failed to include a sufficiently noticeable statement that it was not, in any manner, connected with the government, Medicare or Medicaid.”
Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley said the state launched its investigation after receiving calls from concerned residents. One of those concerned Minnesotans was Jesica Conrad, a retired nurse from Bemidji, who received several mailers from “Medicare.com” addressed to her father, who passed away several years ago.
“If you receive a suspicious letter, email, phone call or other correspondence that concerns you, please reach out to the Department of Commerce,” said Kelley. “We are here to help.”
Minnesotans are encouraged to contact the Department of Commerce’s Consumer Services Center with concerns or questions at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Under Minnesota law, eHealthInsurance Services has been ordered to pay a civil penalty of $50,000 to the state. The company must also identify the specific insurers that will issue coverage and disclose that it sells insurance on all advertisements to Minnesota residents. The company must also edit its website to include a “sufficiently prominent” statement that it is connected to eHealth and that eHealth is an insurance agency.