Attorney General Settles with Discount Health Card
Peoples Benefit Services, Inc. Agrees to Change Advertising
Baltimore, MD (August 10, 2007) - Attorney General Douglas F.
Gansler announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has
reached a settlement with Pennsylvania-based Peoples Benefit Services,
Inc., a provider of discount prescription, health and dental cards.
The discount cards, which cost $5.95 per month, promised consumers
discounts off of the regular price of medical, dental and/or prescription
services. The Division alleged that Peoples Benefit used solicitations
to falsely claim an endorsement by or affiliation with the Social
Security Administration; created the appearance that it was offering
health insurance for only a limited period of time or to a limited
set of consumers; and, misled consumers about the savings achieved
by plan members. Peoples Benefit denied the accusations, but agreed
to limitations on its future advertising and to pay consumer restitution.
Peoples Benefit agreed
not to use solicitations that make it appear as if they are approved
by or affiliated with a government
program. They also agreed not to use various names, including "Senior
Security," and agreed not to use titles whose initials spell "SS," "SSI," or "SSA." The
company further agreed not to create the impression that the discount
card was an insurance product. They will no longer use a false
sense of urgency to persuade consumers to respond to the solicitation.
Peoples Benefit also agreed to not make any future savings claim
without having proof behind the claim and clearly and will conspicuously
stating the basis for the claim. The company will pay $100,000
in restitution and costs.