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Before you sign up and pay any money for health insurance or discount plans, check out all the available options — and any claims they make about coverage. Some people who call you up promoting a way for you to save could be pitching a scam.

Today the FTC announced charges against Partners In Health Care and one of its marketers for tricking people — especially Spanish speakers — who were looking for affordable health insurance into buying worthless medical discount cards.

According to the FTC, many people targeted by the scam were told they were buying a qualified health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Many either had submitted their contact information to lead-generation websites that promised information about getting health insurance, or heard Spanish-language radio ads offering low-cost health plans.

People were assured the “insurance” would pay for doctor and emergency room visits, and other services — regardless of any pre-existing conditions and with small or no deductibles, the FTC says. But despite paying an enrollment fee and monthly payments ranging from $99 to several hundred dollars, the people who signed up were left uninsured.

In a related announcement, defendants in a prescription discount card scheme that targeted older people now are banned from ever selling health care-related benefits or discount programs. Telemarketers working for AFD Medical pushed $299 prescription discount cards that would supposedly give people — who already had Medicare or other insurance — big discounts on prescription drugs. The potential customers were even led to believe that they had to buy the cards to keep getting Medicare, Social Security, or health insurance benefits. But the cards were available for free elsewhere and typically provided no discounts to anyone who already had insurance.

If you’re looking for health insurance, make sure that’s what you’re buying. Your state insurance commissioner’s office can tell you if a plan isn’t insurance — and whether the seller is licensed in your state — and may be able to alert you to a scam. Find your contact at naic.org or consumeraction.gov. A legitimate medical discount plan can be a way for some people to save money on their health care costs, but no discount plan is a substitute for health insurance.

For more on medical discount plans, read Discount Plan or Health Insurance?

To find out more about buying a qualified health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), visit HealthCare.gov.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Comments

I love this blog, good job sir! may be the proud host governor in the community, thank you for the post, I Aziz from Indonesia,

Great plans. Useful one. Felt happy to know these

nice post

received the "singlecare" discount cards, NO return address and no delivery address, either! !
Tha's right, a completely blank envelope with no address information in the window and nothing printed on the outside. The letter and cards inside contained neither my name or address, yet the language seemed to indicate that these were solicited _by_ me. That is much more of a red flag to me. If it were legitimate, in this climate of scams, they should have stated their function and purpose more clearly. Otherwise, they breed suspicion. If it were legitimate, by my reasoning, they should know better than to approach me with so little explanation. Trashed. sorry, "singlecare.com", I can't trust you.

I received a SingleCare letter as well, however it said it was on behalf of my employer (had the name of a previous employer of mine accurately listed). Not sure if I should trust this? Says plainly it's not insurance, and also states that it's a "complimentary benefit". Anybody in this boat?

I have got the same one like you. Did you get any solution on that. If yees, please let me know what you got

My 2-year-old son was the addressee on this unsolicited mailing. Clearly a scam and a waste of postage.

I just received singlecare cards in the mail as well. I'm hoping someone has more information. It feels like a scam tho it does have the name of my current employer as well, which given my employer may just be coincidence.

Also rec'vd Singlecare cards...in reading their info on their webpage, it states, once you enroll they will require a valid ccard and they will pay for your discounted meds thru your card, charge you a fee for them doing this and a fee for something else. I believe it is a "discount" rx card, but then they stack on the fees and I dont know if you have a chance to know what the discount will be before you go get it. Not for me.

I never thought I would see the day I would watch helplessly as my country gets ran into the ground!I have no healthcare, work day & nigh. 7 days a week praying I will have enough money just to pay for my meds...Ive had a bladder infection for 3 mobnths..its making me so sick. I have to pay $175 just to be told I need to get so and so tests done...with what money? Shame on these companies scamming us while we are struggling just to live

Why does the FTC even bother with this while colluding with those it regulates to maintain price opacity? How can consumers know they are getting a discount when there is no transparency in pricing in the market? Why can't the FTC simply say all sellers of drugs and medical devices as well as procedures must publish a price list and display pricing prominently next to all product pages, advertisements, etc? The FTC's own policies are exactly what make these scams possible, and regulators should share in the culpability.

Yup people sounds like Obama Care ask The affordable care act....

I really enjoyed reading your blog, you have lots of great content. I look forward to reading more posts from you.

Very informative post. We are living in rough times.

Nice post

I got an unsolicited card in the mail today and checked the pricing on Androgel pump. The price listed was at CVS for $563.67 for two bottles. The last time I got that prescription filled (before I stopped using it) it cost me $45.00 for two bottles (30 days supply)(non-preferred tier) with my current insurance. The letter and card are currently in the recycle bin.

Love the posts but as one previous individual stated, why not, its free so here is my try for singlecare discount cards I actually paid this at Walgreens        Hydrocodone 5 325 qty30 rtail$28.99 $13.63 wth SNGLECRE GRP#823980 coupon        D-Aphetamine Salt Combo 20mg qty90 rtail $121.49. $79.44 with SNGLECRE GRP#823980 coupon        Clonazepam 1mg qty60 retail $27.99 paid $16.74 with SNGLECRE GRP#823980 coupon

My daughter received the singlecare com /rx pharmacy savings card after applying for AFCA health insurance. Such a shame to be using corporate names such as Walmart, Rite Aid Kroger Walgreens Longs Drug Target CVS Fry's Duane Reade Harris Teeter. These companies should be alerted to the use of their name.

I used my Singlecare at Walgreens for a Rx. I have a high deductible health insurance plan so I asked the pharmacist to compare my costs for the Rx between using the Singlecare card or using my insurance. The result was using Singlecare cost me $28.00 out of pocket compared to $69.00 by running it through my United Health Care insurance. I obtained my Singlecare card from a display my MD's waiting room. I did check out their website and was able to get information on where my Rx would be the cheapest. I did not have to register with Singlecare, I just simply presented the card to the pharmacist. Singlecare seems legitimate.

I tried to use the singlecare card at our local Walgreens. The price of the medication would have been double in price. I threw the card away--appears to be a scam to me

There is no savings I just check. My diabetes medince has no savings. Paying full price I say that's a scam.

GOT THE SINGLECARE CARD TODAY. i DO NOT PLAN TO USE IT. I AM NOT GOING TO NEED IT BECAUSE I WON'T BE HERE. "AS IT WAS IN THE DAYS OF NOAH..."

Care First has been a nightmare. Since I got married and began using Tricare in July, 2016 an outraged Care First keeps sending me bills even though I cancelled my membership with them in July, 2016 and they have records of the cancellation. Lets hope that Single Care doesn't match Care First famous response of: " We don't cover that . " But they sure collected plenty in Monthly Premimums.

All your personal information that you give to the pharmacy is subject to go to these insurance companies,

I received their cards today for prescriptions. Not sure whether to use it or not.

My Pharmacy Savings Card from Singlecare arrived July 18,2017. It was free and promised discounts "up to 75% off your prescriptions." It is valid ONLY at ten listed large pharmacy chains. If there is one obvious objective here, it is to steer customers to these chains and away from independent pharmacies.

I have found Singlecare Pharmacy Savings to be a scam. My local Pharmacy charges $120 for Fluorouraci Topical Cream & WalMart price is $250 so with the discount card I would pay more than an independent Pharmacy. Do not bother with Singlecare.

Any "company" that sends me unrequested info thru the mail and whose envelope has no return address or other identifying info on it immediately raises a red flag with me. Therefore, the cards were immediately shredded.

You all just ALL need to get together and file a class action law suit against as many of these companies, salemens, repreentives, and any other individuals your can think of . Iwould list as many people as I could in my law suit and sue each and EVERY one of them. I'm sorry and I don't even believe in suing people but when scams like these happen someone needs to be taught a lesson!!

Just got mail from SingleCare which provides a card that you "activate" It's most definitely a scam have to use their providers which probably pay a kickback to SingleCare. In fine print on card, it does say "this is not insurance". Best advice is don't ever sign up for something you personally did not ask for.

My elderly Mother received the "SingleCare" discount cards, NO return address and no delivery address, either!! SCAM!!!!

I got a set of the Singlecare cards in the mail today and thought - ???. I have private insurance anyway, and smelled a scam, so turned to the internet to satisfy my curiosity. Cards are already in the shredder, but I am sorry to hear they have been able to scam some folks.
I am 60, and I'm sure that targets me for more than the zillion AARP mailings I get! At least that one's legit!

Do not ever agree to any insurance through a service card. My husband received a phone call from a dental insurance provider. He agreed to purchase a dental ins. at a discounted price of $89.00 a year, billed through our Chevron card. When the info for it came in the mail I read through it. The closes dentist on their list was over 2 hours away. I called to cancel the insurance and get a refund. Chevron told me I would have to call the dental ins. company on the card to get it cancelled. Easy enough, done. When I got the Chevron bill in there it was still on the bill. I called to cancel it again. They assured me it was cancelled but they couldn't refund the money cause the 30 days trial was over. So, I told them to cancel it again. To make a long story short, this went on for 4 years. Every year that charge was on our Chevron Card. I had to go through the Federal Trade Commission to get it stopped and we never receive any of the $356.00 back. So, don't do it!

I just received an envelope in the mail, hand delivered by the mailperson with a very odd postage mark. It held 'discount cards' from healthcare alliance that looked much like AAA or grocery store cards. My alarms went off and my first thought was "what do they get out of it?" Probably some sort of personal information as feedback from the pharmacies like the fact you are using one, which one, maybe your name and information like that. My next step (after looking online) will be to ask my mailperson or the postoffice just what that goofy postmark is.

I just got by mail a Singlecare card for medications. Promises big saving at Pharmacies. I have already Medicare and insurance which pays a lot. Does this Singlecare card worth anything?

Read the fine print on the back of the letter. Once you use the card, the will be a monthly charge automatically put on your credit card on file. They will also have the right to sell your info to anyone. Nothing is free

I got some SingleCare cards in the mail. I notice there is no barcode on the backs of the cards like other discount or reward cards. That is one thing that makes me doubt these cards. Another thing is the line on the back, "We do not rent or sell personal information". Translated, that means they will get your information and keep it. I stay away from any company that collects information.

The document that came with the card states "there are no monthly fees", but here is a line copy/pasted right from their Terms and Conditions:

"(e) Charges to Your Account. To register for the SingleCare Service, you will be required to provide a valid payment mechanism, e.g., a credit or debit card number ("Account")".
Searching for the word "fee" in their Terms and Conditions returns 45 matches!
You can read it here and decide for yourself:
singlecare. com/ terms- and- conditions #terms5
-- Trust No One, Question Everything --

Single care card is a scam. It worked the first 2 times I used it and then the savings went down to nothing.

I looked at Singlecare's website and it has doctors you see online. Why would anyone see a doctor online instead of going to the office for a complete exam? Sounds like a scam.

Great post, very helfpull

I just got a phone call from "John Rogers" with an East Indian accent saying he was from US Healthcare. It was a local phone number with an actual name on my ID screen. Beware these phone scammers too! They're ruthless. I blocked the number.

My step daughter is 15 and has received information addressed to her at our house and not her mother’s house. They apparently are targeting minors too. How do they get their information?

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