With millions of Americans without health insurance, and the percentage of job layoffs growing… the last thing we need is for health premiums to rise.
We know you’re thinking: Great old news… tell me something new, but unfortunately this problem is not becoming less relative with time. Alleged health care providers are taking advantage of consumers in their desperate attempt to seek medical attention.
So, in order to provide you with the best information our friends at the Federal Trade Commission said some medical discount plans claim to provide big discounts from hundreds of providers for a wide range of services, from doctor visits and dental exams to hospital stays and prescription drugs. But many plans fail to make good on those claims. The FTC and many states have found that although some medical discount plans provide legitimate discounts that benefit their members, many take consumers’ money and offer very little in return.
Fraudulent plans promise full health coverage but deliver worthless pieces of paper “insurance cards”, stripped-down policies, or medical discount plans that require members to pay most medical bills themselves.
So, how does this scam work exactly?
Well for one we need to watch out for aggressive sales pitches and savvy marketing schemes. These cons most likely promise full health insurance, but do not deliver on their “said” products. Some Scambook users say that these health cons are pocketing the difference between the premiums paid for promised coverage and the value of the coverage actually supplied.
Tips provided by the FTC on what to do if you receive an offer for a medical discount plan…
1. Investigate the details before making an informed decision.
2. Ask for a list of providers who participate in its plan. If the plan doesn’t provide a list of providers in writing promptly, consider taking your business elsewhere.
Other Scambook users have reported enrolling in a medical discount program and having to pay a premium each month and later found out when they needed surgery that it was not covered or the Dr. could not get a hold of anyone from their insurance.
3. Ask for a Web site where you can get more information. If your medical or dental providers don’t participate, see whether other doctors in your area accept the plan and will give you the discount the plan promises.
4. Investigate the details of any plan carefully. Pay special attention to the refund policy.
5. Do the math. Try to calculate what your total payment for a discount plan will be for a given amount of time.
Stay tuned on Friday for the final part of our “How to” series.