641.441 Unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices defined.—The following are defined as unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices:
(1) MISREPRESENTATION AND FALSE ADVERTISING OF PREPAID HEALTH CLINIC CONTRACTS.—Knowingly making, issuing, circulating, or causing to be made, issued, or circulated, any estimate, illustration, circular, statement, sales presentation, omission, or comparison which:
(a) Misrepresents the benefits, advantages, conditions, or terms of any prepaid health clinic contract.
(b) Is misleading, or is a misrepresentation as to the financial condition of any person.
(c) Uses any name or title of a contract, which name or title misrepresents the true nature of the contract.
(d) Is a misrepresentation for the purpose of inducing, or tending to induce, the lapse, forfeiture, exchange, conversion, or surrender of any prepaid health clinic contract, health maintenance contract as defined in s. 641.19, or health insurance policy or contract providing health insurance as defined in s. 624.603.
(e) Misrepresents the benefits, nature, characteristics, uses, standard, quantity, quality, cost, rate, scope, source, or geographic origin or location of any goods or services available from or provided by, directly or indirectly, a prepaid health clinic.
(f) Misrepresents the affiliation, connection, or association of any goods, services, or business establishment.
(g) Advertises goods or services with intent not to sell them as advertised.
(h) Disparages the goods, services, or business of another person by any false or misleading representation.
(i) Misrepresents the sponsorship, endorsement, approval, or certification of goods or services.
(j) Uses an advertising format which, by virtue of the design, location, or size of printed matter, is deceptive or misleading, or which may tend to be deceptive or misleading, or which would be deceptive or misleading to any reasonable person.
(k) Offers to provide a service which the prepaid health clinic is unable to provide.
(l) Misrepresents the availability of a service provided by the prepaid health clinic, either directly or indirectly, including the availability of the service as to location.
(m) Disseminates any advertisement, information, or other material pertaining to the prepaid health clinic, including any radio or television transmittal of an advertisement or of information, without disclosing as a part of such dissemination adequate reference to the existence of any limitations or exclusions contained in the contract.
(n) Disseminates any advertisement, information, or other material, including any radio or television transmittal of an advertisement or of information, which contains any limitation or exclusion in a language that is not the language principally used in such dissemination or in such advertisement.
(o) Makes an offer in which there is a material contingency, condition, exclusion, or limitation without conspicuously stating the contingency, condition, exclusion, or limitation in the offer and in the language in which the offer was made.
(2) FALSE INFORMATION AND ADVERTISING, GENERALLY.—Knowingly making, publishing, disseminating, circulating, or placing before the public, or causing, directly or indirectly, there to be made, published, disseminated, circulated, or placed before the public:
(a) In a newspaper, magazine, or other publication;
(b) In the form of a notice, circular, pamphlet, letter, or poster;
(c) Over any radio or television station; or
(d) In any other way
an advertisement, announcement, or statement containing any assertion, representation, or statement with respect to the business of the prepaid health clinic which is untrue, deceptive, or misleading.
(3) DEFAMATION.—Knowingly making, publishing, disseminating, or circulating, directly or indirectly, or aiding, abetting, or encouraging the making, publishing, disseminating, or circulating of, any oral or written statement, or any pamphlet, circular, article, or literature, which is false or maliciously critical of, or derogatory to, any person and which is calculated to injure such person.
(4) FALSE STATEMENTS AND ENTRIES.—
1. Filing a false statement with any supervisory or other public official;
2. Making, publishing, disseminating, or circulating a false statement;
3. Delivering a false statement to any person;
4. Placing a false statement before the public; or
5. Causing, directly or indirectly, a false statement to be made, published, disseminated, circulated, or delivered to a person or placed before the public; or
(b) Knowingly making a false entry of a material fact in any book, report, or statement of a person.
(5) UNFAIR CLAIM SETTLEMENT PRACTICES.—
(a) Attempting to settle claims on the basis of an application or any other material document which was altered without notice to, or the knowledge or consent of, the subscriber or group of subscribers to a prepaid health clinic;
(b) A material misrepresentation made to the subscriber for the purpose and with the intent of effecting settlement of claims, loss, or damage under a prepaid health clinic contract on less favorable terms than those terms provided in, and contemplated by, the contract; or
(c) Committing or performing any of the following:
1. Failure to properly investigate claims;
2. Misrepresentation of pertinent facts or contract provisions relating to the coverage at issue;
3. Failure to acknowledge and act promptly upon communications with respect to claims;
4. Denial of claims without conducting reasonable investigations based upon available information;
5. Failure to affirm or deny coverage of claims upon the written request of the subscriber within a reasonable time, not to exceed 30 days, after a claim or proof-of-loss statement has been completed;
6. Failure to provide promptly a reasonable explanation to the subscriber of the basis in the contract, in relation to the facts or applicable law, for a denial of a claim or for the offer of a compromise settlement; or
7. Unless a legitimate coverage defense exists, failure to provide any subscriber with services, care, or treatment contracted for pursuant to any prepaid health clinic contract.
(6) FAILURE TO MAINTAIN COMPLAINT-HANDLING PROCEDURES.—Failure of a person to maintain a record of each complaint received for a 3-year period after the date of the receipt of the written complaint.
(7) REFUSAL TO ISSUE A CONTRACT.—The refusal to issue a prepaid health clinic contract solely because of an individual’s race, color, national origin, sex, marital status, or creed.
(8) OPERATION WITHOUT A SUBSISTING CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY.—Operation of a prepaid health clinic by any person or entity without a subsisting certificate of authority, or the issuance, delivery, or renewal of any prepaid health clinic contract by a prepaid health clinic, person, or entity without a subsisting certificate of authority.
History.—ss. 10, 11, ch. 84-313; s. 33, ch. 85-62; s. 78, ch. 89-360; ss. 187, 188, ch. 91-108; s. 4, ch. 91-429.