Around the PIA Western Alliance States – Week of April 1, 2024

Oregon — State of Oregon settles with cryptocurrency asset platform: The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation (DFR) has reached a settlement agreement in principle with a cryptocurrency asset platform for violating state securities regulations.

The group of affiliated companies – Plutus Financial Holdings Inc., Plutus Financial Inc., Plutus Lending LLC and Abra Boost LLC – offered and sold interest-bearing cryptocurrency depository products referred to as Abra Boost and Abra Earn.

As part of the settlement, the companies – commonly known as Abra – are required to notify all Oregon consumers with open accounts containing crypto assets with the companies that they are winding down U.S. operations and to encourage consumers to move any remaining crypto assets from the platform.

Consumers have at least seven days from the date they receive notice to remove their assets from the Abra platform. Assets remaining after that date with a value of $10 or more will be converted to fiat and a check or other instrument will be sent directly to the consumer’s last known address.

In Oregon, 167 residents still have cryptocurrencies on the Abra platform valued at about $32,387.14.

The companies – controlled by William “Bill” Barhydt, who is also a party to the settlement – offered Abra Earn to all U.S. clients and Abra Boost to accredited U.S. clients. Investors in both programs earned interest by depositing digital assets with Abra and authorizing Abra to lend client assets to institutional borrowers.

“Although firms are creating new products tied to evolving technologies, they must continue to comply with existing securities laws,” said DFR Administrator TK Keen. “The division will continue to ensure that investors purchasing securities tied to digital assets are afforded the same protections as investors purchasing stocks, bonds and other traditional products.”

As part of the settlement, Abra and Barhydt will enter a consent order with DFR requiring that they cease and desist from offering or selling unregistered securities in Oregon and ordering them to pay an administrative penalty, which will be suspended if they comply with the process to return all assets owned by Oregon consumers before April 25, 2024.

“We strongly encourage clients in Oregon to withdraw their assets as soon as possible, but certainly within seven days of receiving notice from Abra,” said Keen. “We are available to assist and answer consumers’ questions about this settlement.”

Washington — Kreidler continues scrutiny of Change Healthcare: Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s office continues to monitor for impacts and disruptions to healthcare services caused by the recent cybersecurity event involving Change Healthcare.

Change Healthcare is a subsidiary of United Health Group that also operates Optum Solutions. The February 21, 2024 event compromised systems widely used by providers and insurers to fill prescriptions, approve medical services, and submit costs for reimbursement. The result has been delays for some patients in getting necessary medication, prior approvals and claims processed, and impeded reimbursement submissions and payments to hospitals, individual practitioners, and outpatient facilities and pharmacies across the state.

Kreidler’s office has requested that affected health carriers operating in Washington State make every effort to provide prompt assistance to health plan members and providers as they navigate these challenges.

This should include considering the importance of a provider’s ability to treat and receive  reimbursement for health care services the carrier has promised to cover for its health plan members.

“I expect health carriers will take the necessary steps to address any customer-related issues and mitigate barriers to receiving plan-provided services,” Kreidler said, adding that consumers should first seek resolution to Change Healthcare-related issues by contacting their health carrier. “However, my office is prepared to quickly intervene with any health carrier that doesn’t comply with state law in addressing a consumer’s issue.”

Visit UnitedHealth’s website for additional updates on the Change Healthcare cybersecurity event. People may also report concerns to the OIC’s Customer Protection line at 1-800-562-6900.

About PIA Western Alliance

The Professional Insurance Agents Western Alliance is a membership organization promoting and enhancing the success of independent agencies seeking to grow, learn and be heard within the industry.


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