A lawsuit has been filed by the State of Texas seeking to stop Georgia-based Aliera Healthcare from selling health insurance in the state and engaging in the business of insurance without a license, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) reported.
The lawsuit also seeks civil penalties.
After filing the lawsuit June 13 in the 53rd Civil District Court in Travis County (Cause Number D-1-GN-19-003388), TDI dismissed the administrative action pending with the State Office of Administrative Hearings.
On July 11, the state filed a first amended petition. The amended petition also sought a temporary restraining order and temporary injunction against Aliera, its successors, affiliates, agents, and assigns.
On July 12, Aliera and the state participated in a hearing on the temporary restraining order in Travis County District Court. Following the hearing, the judge found that there is evidence of irreparable injury, loss, and/or damage if the court did not issue a temporary restraining order.
The judge’s order prohibited Aliera, its successors, affiliates, agents, and assigns, from accepting any new customers in Texas.
A hearing is set for July 29 to present evidence and testimony on the state’s requested temporary injunction.
When it first took action against Aliera in May, TDI said the firm claimed to be running a health-sharing ministry and is therefore exempt from TDI regulation and reporting requirements. Texas law requires health-sharing ministries to be non-profit organizations. TDI alleged that Aliera is a for-profit corporation and is using only 20 percent or less of the money it collects from consumers to pay health claims.
Aliera is believed to have more than 17,000 customers in Texas and 100,000 nationwide. The insurance regulators in Washington state ordered Aliera to stop selling insurance there and the New Hampshire Insurance Department warned that Aliera may be operating illegally.
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