N.D. insurance commissioner fines Sanford Health Plan over ads

A North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Monday fined Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Sanford Health Plan $22,000 for not filing advertisements for its Medicare supplement insurance as required by law and for omitting required information from the ads, according to the News & Observer.

Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm said Sanford Health Plan failed to file 14 ads with his department since 2010. If the health plan had filed the ads, Mr. Hamm said he would have required it to make several changes to them, according to the report.

North Dakota law stipulates that any company selling Medicare supplement insurance must provide a copy of any advertisements within 10 days of their publication in the state for review and approval by the insurance commissioner, according to the report. Mr. Hamm said Sanford failed to provide him with a copy of print ads, some online and radio ads and those included in direct mail letters, postcards and pamphlets.

After reviewing the 14 ads, Mr. Hamm determined nine had content he would have instructed Sanford to change, according to the report.

"Because the ad did not reference all the other plans or suggest there were other plans available, it did not meet statutory requirements," Mr. Hamm said in a statement, according to the report. "The reason for this law is so that consumers, which are mostly seniors, know there are other plans."

Mr. Hamm fined Sanford $14,000 for not filing the ads and $8,000 for having incomplete information on them, according to the report. Sanford agreed to pay the fine.

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