This class action has been brought against USHealth Group, Inc. and its subsidiary USHealth Advisors, LLC for violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The complaint alleges that USHealth Advisors sent telemarketing text messages to consumer cell phones without first getting the consumers’ permission.
The class for this action is all persons in the US who, between August 2, 2015 and the present, received a text message on their cell phones from USHealth Group or USHealth Advisors or someone acting on their behalf, and who did not give USHealth their prior express written consent to receive such messages.
USHealth offers health insurance and other insurance products to “self-employed individuals, families, business owners and their employees” throughout the country. A USHealth website says that its agents must “meet specific product training and certification standards before being authorized to represent our products.” The agents are captive agents, meaning they can only sell USHealth products.
Evidently, the training and certification process did not cover the TCPA. Under the TCPA, companies are not allowed to place telemarketing calls to consumer cell phones using automatic dialing systems or artificial or prerecorded voices unless they have the consumers’ prior express written consent to receive such calls.
This blanket prohibition relates to the fact that cell phone owners must pay for incoming as well as outgoing calls. Telemarketers thus force them to assume part of their own advertising costs. Text messages, like voice mails, are also included in the definition of calls, as consumers must pay for them as well.
Plaintiff Nathan C. Jones owned a landscaping business called Prariescapes. On March 13, 2019, he received a text message from USHealth on his cell phone. The message read, “Hello. My name is Chad and I’m a licensed health insurance agent in KS and MO. Call me at 913-562-6134 to discuss your options for affordable health coverage. I look forward to helping you. Thanks.”
Five days later, on March 18, Jones received another text message from USHealth on his cell phone. It read, “Hey Prariescapes, are you still looking for health coverage? If we get an application in today I can still have coverage start on the 1st.” It then offered a number where Jones could contact the company.
The complaint says Jones had never given USHealth his cell phone number, had no business relationship with the companies, and had not consented to receive telemarketing messages on his cell phone.