State Warns Residents of Bogus Health Insurer
Posted February 7, 2008 9:04 a.m. EST
Updated February 7, 2008 10:22 a.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — The North Carolina Department of Insurance issued a cease-and-desist order last week against an organization that marketed what it claimed were health-insurance plans to businesses and individuals across the state.
The National Trade Business Alliance of America was never licensed to provide insurance, officials said in a statement Thursday. Any and all plans sold by the company were fraudulent, and many “policyholders” found themselves with unpaid claims and stolen premiums, the department said.
NTBAA is headquartered in Turnersville, N.J., and has operated under various names, including National Alliance of Associations and Affinity Health Plans of America.
“North Carolina is the latest state to be victimized by this so-called insurance company, which has offered bogus health plans to unsuspecting citizens across the country,” said Insurance Commissioner Jim Long. “Marketed through blast faxes and telemarketing, this group preyed on those who were searching for low-cost health insurance. They left at least 123 North Carolinians out more than $20,000. Fortunately, we caught on to their scheme and have run them out of North Carolina before anyone else gets hurt.”
Through the department’s Consumer Services Division, the Unauthorized Entities Unit works specifically to identify and go after companies selling insurance that is not licensed or authorized in this state.
To date, the department has shut down more than 18 companies that have defrauded citizens out of more than $1 million. The National Trade Business Alliance case was identified through a consumer complaint.
“Consumer tips are vital to this department finding and prosecuting these rogue companies,” Long said.
More important, he noted, is the service the department can provide to individuals considering the purchase of any kind of insurance plan.
“Especially if you get offers via e-mail, fax or some kind of telemarketing — whether it’s health insurance, auto, whatever — do not buy until you call our office,” Long said.
The state Department of Insurance can quickly tell you whether a company is properly licensed and can clue you in on any pattern of concerns or complaints. Call 1-800-546-5664 toll free within North Carolina, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.