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Minnesota accuses California company of posing as Medicare representative, misleading elderly about their coverage

The Minnesota Department of Commerce has fined a California-based health insurance agency for mailing more than 600,000 misleading letters to elderly Minnesotans, the department announced Tuesday, April 23.

Gold River, Calif.-based eHealthInsurance Services purchased the web domain name “Medicare.com” and, using that name, mailed letters to Minnesotans warning that certain Medicare plans were being discontinued and offering services to obtain a new plan, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported. The Medicare program’s correct website address is www.medicare.gov.

The company prominently branded the letters and their website with “Medicare.com” and failed to include a “sufficiently noticeable statement” that it was not connected with government, Medicare or Medicaid, the department said in a statement.

The agency stopped the company from mailing more misleading marketing materials to state residents and fined it $50,000.

State Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley credited “concerned Minnesotans” with calling the letters to his department’s attention.

“We are grateful for their vigilance and quick action in alerting us to the situation,” he said.

If Minnesotans receive suspicious letters, emails, phone calls or other correspondence, Kelley urged them to contact the Commerce Department’s Consumer Services Center at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 or by email at consumer.protection@state.mn.us.