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Swanson said about 4,600 Minnesotans paid between $100 and $450 for health insurance they never received. One of those was Keith Romann of Garfield.
"I know at the time, I felt sort of like a fool," Garfield said. "Here I am, 60 years old, you shouldn't be getting conned. But these guys are smooth, they know what to say, they've talked to enough people that they are very good at what they do."
The two companies are Direct Medical Network Solutions of Southlake, Texas and Association Health Care of Houston. Gary Sween of Owatonna says a Direct Medical representative led him to believe on the phone that he was buying a health insurance policy.
"It was a situation where when you get desperate for insurance, sometimes you do things you really wouldn't do normally," Sween said. "But they did misinterpret their information to me."
The attorney general said the companies are not licensed to sell health insurance in Minnesota, and that instead they sold limited health discount plans using terms like "coverage," "premium" and "co pay" to persuade people to buy their plans.
Calls to Direct Medical went unanswered, and Family Care did not immediately return MPR's phone calls.