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Texas Company Sued for Defrauding Pregnant Women

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed a lawsuit this week against an Austin-based company and its owners, Brian McDonald and Aaron Bouren, for selling fraudulent healthcare discount cards to uninsured pregnant women. According to the Attorney General’s news release, the company, Affordable HealthCare Options (AHCO Direct), sold a health discount card that promised to cover up to 60 percent of maternity-related costs, such as doctor’s visits, sonograms, prescriptions and other prenatal care, stating that it would be accepted by a large number of healthcare providers.

However, the card was not accepted by even the company’s own AHCO Direct preferred providers. The card cost $199 to enroll and $99 a month, and women who sought to cancel the service were charged a $250 cancellation fee, reports the Daily Women’s Health Policy Report. Over 140 consumers complained to the Attorney General’s office and the Better Business Bureau about the card, according to the American-Statesman.

Court papers show Abbott is seeking refunds for the women defrauded by the company, as well as civil penalties up to $20,000 per violation of the Texas Deceptive Practices-Consumer Protection Act, reports Legal Newsline.

Sources:

Daily Women's Health Policy Report 4/16/08; Legal Newsline 4/14/08; Attorney General News Release 4/14/08; American Statesman 4/15/08

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