Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz and Connecticut Healthcare Advocate Kevin Lembo released their own press release (download here) this afternoon regarding the investigation into Progressive Business Compliance.
According to the press release, Bysiewicz and Lembo are "warning Connecticut’s business community about a deceptive marketing campaign that falsely claims there is a ‘new’ requirement that employers purchase compliance posters or face fines of $7500." Bysiewicz is also investigating whether the company is operating legally in Connecticut.
The Connecticut Employment Law Blog first broke the story of this marketing effort and discussed what the employer’s real obligations were under the law yesterday (see previous posts here and here.) Earlier today, I noted Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s statement. It is now available online here.
The press release states:
“Today we are warning Connecticut business owners – do not be duped by the scare tactics of this unauthorized campaign and these phony “new” requirements,” said Bysiewicz. “My office has launched an investigation to determine if Progressive Business Publications is operating legally in Connecticut and I applaud Attorney General Blumenthal for his investigation of PBP for potential fraud. We urge anyone who has fallen prey to this scam to contact our offices.”
The marketing campaign, consisting of blast-faxes and emails from PBC, is entitled: "CONNECTICUT HEALTHCARE ADVOCATE, OFFICIAL NOTICE". This campaign is NOT authorized by the Office of the Healthcare Advocate, State of Connecticut. The promotion falsely states that this is a "NEW" requirement, and encourages the reader to purchase the poster under threat of "fines of up to $7,500." The solicitation gives potential buyers an option of purchasing a single compliance poster for $12.99 or a “Complete Connecticut State Kit” consisting of 11 posters for $89.99.
“As soon as we were notified of this scheme we took action,” said Lembo. This marketing campaign and solicitation are in no way authorized by the Office of the Healthcare Advocate. This scheme targets business owners trying to play by the rules. Business owners who are required to post health insurance information may contact my office and receive this poster free of charge.”
The Connecticut General Statutes (CGA 38a-1046) require that employers who offer a fully-insured health insurance product to their employees, "shall obtain from the Healthcare Advocate and post, in a conspicuous location, a notice concerning the services that the Healthcare Advocate provides." The notice/poster that fulfills this requirement is available, free of charge, by contacting the Office of the Healthcare Advocate at 1-866-466-4446 or email@example.com.
As before, I’ll update with any noteworthy developments.