Valley family says maternity insurance doesn't deliver

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Monica and Michael Herdez didn't anticipate how much joy a new baby would bring.

They also didn't anticipate a massive medical bill.

Not long after Monica found out she was pregnant, she learned her health insurance didn't cover maternity care. So, she immediately started searching online and found a company called Maternity Advantage.

“I looked at their website and it seemed like a real legitimate company,” Monica said.

For a $200 sign-up fee, and $99 a month, Maternity Advantage promised to pay any bill that came with being pregnant -- sonograms, lab work, even hospital stays.

“So that's what I did,” Monica said.

But $15,000, and one beautiful baby girl later, the Herdez's say they submitted their bills, but Maternity Advantage never delivered.

“I would leave messages and she would never call me back and then somebody would actually answer and they would say somebody else had the case, so I was always getting the runaround,” she said.

3 On Your Side tried contacting Maternity Advantage and its parent company Affordable Health Care Options, based in Austin, Texas.

When we didn't hear back, we asked our affiliate station in Austin to pay the company a visit.

The found Affordable Health Care Options isn't listed on the sign at the office complex, and there is no evidence that the company is even operating out of this location.

3 On Your Side has since learned the State of Texas has filed charges against Affordable Health Care Options, claiming employees ‘engaged in false, deceptive and misleading acts...and does not offer pregnancy insurance, or any cost-covering or cost-sharing mechanism whatsoever.’

So where does that leave the Herdez's?

Stuck making monthly payments to the hospital and feeling like they've been had by this so-called insurance company.

“I don't know how many people they do this to,” Michael said, “but obviously it's a pretty good scam.”

The Texas Attorney General is seeking up to $20,000 per violation from Affordable Health Care Options. Customers can file a complaint with the Texas AG.