Health insurer settles with N.C. AG

Nick Rees Jan. 29, 2010, 3:21pm


RALEIGH, N.C. (Legal Newsline) - Blue Cross Blue Shield has agreed to a settlement to end improper robo calls and pay North Carolina $95,000 in penalties, state Attorney General Roy Cooper has announced.

Blue Cross Blue Shield commissioned robo calls, which are automatically-dialed, pre-recorded telemarketing calls, to 100,000 North Carolina residents in October but failed to follow a state law that mandates a live operator announce the automated message. The live operator must also give recipients the chance to refuse the call.

"No one in North Carolina should have to endure unwanted robo calls that tie up phone lines and disturb their peace and quiet," Cooper said. "People have had enough of answering their phones and hearing a recorded message."

The settlement with Blue Cross Blue Shield comes as a result of complaints that were filed with Cooper's office in October following a series of robo calls on behalf of Blue Cross Blue Shield's behalf by Vendor Campaign.

Blue Cross Blue Shield, which has agreed not to resume the calls, is not allowed to make the legislatively exempt robo calls as it is not a tax-exempt organization. Some automated calls are exempted by the General Assembly for health care and insurance purposes, however, only certain people may make those calls, such as those who have business with the company.

Blue Cross Blue Shield has also agreed, as part of the settlement, to adopt policies guiding its vendors to follow all applicable state laws.

The $95,000 in penalties will be distributed to public schools in North Carolina.

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