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FTC to send nearly $100 million in refunds to customers of Benefytt's fake health plans

Americans struggling to pay for health care
Many working-age Americans struggling to pay for health care 05:15

The Federal Trade Commission is sending refunds to consumers it says bought into fake health plans falsely marketed by Benefytt Technologies as comprehensive health insurance or an Obamacare plan under the Affordable Care Act.

Benefytt, operating under various names such as Health Insurance Innovations, used aggressive marketing and fraudulent websites in a scheme to lure consumers in search of health insurance into buying bogus policies with high monthly fees, according to the FTC's August 2022 complaint. After buying the bad insurance, which offered little coverage, Benefytt customers where often billed for additional items they never agreed to purchase, even if they had requested a cancellation.

In addition to being billed hundreds of dollars monthly, Benefytt customers often racked up huge medical bills under the belieft they were protected by their insurance, according to the agency.

"Benefytt pocketed millions selling sham insurance to seniors and other consumers looking for health coverage," Samuel Levine, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement at the time the original complaint was filed. 

Benefytt agreed to pay roughly $100 million toward providing costumers refunds as part of the settlement, which also permanently bans former CEO Gavin Southwell and former vice president Amy Brady from selling or marketing any health care-related products. Brady is also banned from telemarketing as part of the settlement.

Who can get a refund?

The FTC is sending checks to 463,629 customers who paid Benefytt $1,000 or more between 2017 and 2022, the agency announced on Tuesday. The total amount distributed is $99,307,988.46. Here's what to know:

  • Customers who paid Benefytt $1,000 or more between 2017 and 2022 will get some money back. 
  • As with most FTC cases, affected customers are not required to file a claim.
  • Checks will be mailed automatically and should arrive within the next two weeks.
  • Once received, refund checks should be cashed or deposited as soon as possible as they expire after 90 days.
  • Consumers can call the refund administrator, Epiq Systems, at (888) 574-3126, for more information.

Breakdown of funds

Refunds are partial, the FTC told CBS MoneyWatch. While the average check amount comes out to $214.20, refunds range from $51.58 to as much as $4,361.72. The size of individual refunds is "proportionally based" on how much the customer paid Benefytt, the FTC said.

More details can be found on the FTC's interactive dashboard, on which they have created a Benefytt refunds page:

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