Affordable Health Care Plan! Pre-existing conditions? No problem! No Deductible or Co-pays! Thousands of providers in our PPO network! Discounts up to 60%! Sounds like insurance you can get through the Healthcare Exchange aka Obamacare? NO, it is not! These are health or medical discount plans and they can cost you lots of money and you get NOTHING in return.
The national focus on health insurance provides an opportunity for these shady companies to confuse people and sign you up for a product that is not health insurance. One way to know the difference is to realize no one selling health insurance through the government exchange will make a cold call to sign you up.
If someone does call to offer you a medical discount plan or if you see an ad for such a plan on the Internet or in a newspaper, be alert to these red flags.
- They do not use the word insurance, but they will use the words health plan and medical plan to confuse you.
- Ask for a list of providers who participate in the plan. If they cannot mail you a list or provide you a website, then you are dealing with a scammer.
- They ask for a credit card or bank account number immediately for enrollment. You should NEVER provide that information to a stranger calling on the phone. The legitimate plans will mail you coverage information first, then a statement after you have enrolled.
- Understand that a discount plan is not insurance and therefore you will still be subject the federal penalty for not having health insurance.
- Call the Better Business Bureau at 713-868-9500 to check to see if it is a legitimate company.
If you are interested in learning more about health insurance available through the Health Insurance Exchange go to http://www.healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596.