Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Matt Rosendale announced that 3,645 Montanans will soon receive letters in their mailboxes informing them that they may be eligible for restitution from an insurance case prosecuted by his office.
If Montanans receive mail labeled with "Health Insurance Innovations Restitution Fund" or "Dahl Administration," they should open the letter and follow the instructions contained in it. To receive restitution, policyholders must fill out the form attached to the letter and return it to the State Auditor's office by November 9, 2019.
Restitution is only available for people who were misled about the health insurance product they purchased. The restitution fund is being administered by Dahl Administration in Minneapolis, MN.
The restitution comes from settlements in a case dealing with call centers selling short-term health insurance to people throughout the country between 2012 and 2016. Many of the people who sold the insurance products were not licensed, not appointed by insurers responsible for the policies, and/or provided misleading information about the terms of the policies.
"My primary mission as State Auditor is to protect consumers. If companies use misleading sales tactics or are dishonest about what they're selling, there will be consequences," Rosendale said. "The key is transparency and disclosure. Customers have to be made fully aware of what they're buying and the terms of the contract."
The Auditor's office filed an administrative action against several entities involved in the sale of these products in 2016. Investigation and prosecution of the case continued under Rosendale's administration after he was sworn as State Auditor in 2017, and resulted in a settlement earlier this year.
Health Insurance Innovations (HII) was the main company involved in the case, but affected Montanans may have purchased an insurance policy from any one of about two dozen different companies or individuals that are listed on the restitution letter.
Health Insurance Innovations was dismissed from the Montana action so Montana could focus its enforcement efforts as a lead state in a nationwide multi-state investigation by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) into HII's sales and registration practices. That investigation led to HII making a "Multistate Payment" of $3.4 million to cover the states' administrative and investigative costs. It also resulted in an agreement requiring HII to create a plan to fully disclose plan details to consumers, improve its monitoring of sales calls through recordings, and create a compliance plan.
A total of $284,500 is available for restitution to Montanans. Rosendale's office used company records to identify 3,645 policyholders in Montana who may have been affected, but it is unknown exactly how many are eligible for restitution. Policyholders must return the paperwork they receive in the mail to the State Auditor's office by November 9th.
Entities that paid settlements into the restitution fund are: HCC Life Insurance Company and HCC Medical Insurance Services, United Life Insurance, Starr Indemnity and Liability Company, Coverage One Insurance Group, Western Heritage Insurance Marketing Group and Lisa D. Gonzales, Michael C. Tobias, Quick Quote US and Michael S. Hilf, National Foundation Life Insurance Co., Health Benefits One and Matthew E. Spiewalk, Danielle Bretti, Michael K. Borchers, and Terry M. Alvarado.
A template of the letter mailed to Montanans and links to settlement documents and other records are available HERE (http://links.govdelivery.com/track?type=click&enid=ZWFzPTEmbXNpZD0mYXVpZD0mbWFpbGluZ2lkPTIwMTkwOTExLjEwMDU0ODUxJm1lc3NhZ2VpZD1NREItUFJELUJVTC0yMDE5MDkxMS4xMDA1NDg1MSZkYXRhYmFzZWlkPTEwMDEmc2VyaWFsPTE3MTMwMTIzJmVtYWlsaWQ9a3lsZS5zY2htYXVjaEBtdC5nb3YmdXNlcmlkPWt5bGUuc2NobWF1Y2hAbXQuZ292JnRhcmdldGlkPSZmbD0mbXZpZD0mZXh0cmE9JiYm&&&101&&&https://csimt.gov/wp-content/uploads/MEMO-2019.9.5-Settlement-Information.pdf).