These health care plans were scams

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

and this is what is happening now

God

So this is why I'm not covered. .y bills are sky high and can't pay for meds or my doctors appointments. I knew something was wrong. Have letters saying I'm covered. Call and ask just to find I have no coverage except Medicare and I'm paying for it. On the other hand they say We were covered by 2 different companies threw ACCHESS contreversive looking like we are playing them when the agent we had treated so badly with extreme prejudice because we are disabled. Why are government employees allowed to do this?
Since we are disabled and no buses run in our area plus many car problems a broken foot that caused surgery and a rattle snake bite to find out nothing is covered while in the computer said I was covered? We have 2 and 3 sets of paperwork saying we are covered then another I'm not.
Can you please help fix this so I may raise my daughter instead of being bed ridden.
We need professional help to fix this. If you can't help me we have to go to the media. I don't want to.

Call your local Office for the Aging. They have trained Medicare Specialists that will be able to assist, and most will make a home visit!

I have received through the mail a letter from patient savings alliance 217 centre street #2150 NY NY 10013 a prescription savings card to save 75% on all FDA medications at pharmacies everywhere which I never requested.I think it's a scam..

The Singlecare discount card is a scam. With it, the pharmacist showed that it made a prescription much more expensive. Do not use it, or if you would like, ask a pharmacist for your own verification.

Got unsolicited Singlecare cards from 4100 Regent Street Suite S Columbus OH 43219; asking pharmacist today about them.

That is not entirely true. I have worked in the insurance industry for quite some time. I pulled up the "SingleCare" app and website after reading this and it does not appear to be a scam. I have more research to do, but it appears much like insurance they contract rates for prescriptions in groups of similar types. Occasionally the rate they contract is more expensive than the actual cost of the prescription. This happens very frequently with top tier medical plans as well. It is the job of the consumer and if you have a good pharmacist to ask what to retail price of any rx is vs the "discount" card price. I found many prescriptions on the app that were significantly cheaper than retail. Please do research for yourself everyone, and ask questions. Benefits can be very complicated and you need to be your own advocate. Cheers!

I was looking for dental ins. and came across a discount card, which I purchased for 35.00$ and went to dentist next day for an emergency only to be told they did not except the discount card. Went for a second opinion and that dentist did not except the discount card. I immediately canceled the discount card and received a refund. I even called our hospital clinic when asked if I had insurance I said no but I have a discount card they would not even see me, and it was an emergency, my tooth broke off and I needed attention asap.

You should be wary of medical discount cards since some of the benefits or discounts are applicable only to certain providers. We wrote a guide about this offering tips to consumers before purchasing one. You can read it here: http://www.businessconsumeralliance.org/blog/2013/11/dont-be-fooled-by-discount-health-plans-disguised-as-health-insurance-116

Sounds like obama care to me!@

Very ignorant,unproductive statement.

do what dude

Why is the TRUTH...facts being spoken have to be uncalled for or racist...ITS TRUE....

That wasn't racist it is Obama care and the affordable care act (ACA) the insurance providers were deregulated and open the door for stuff like this to happen. This why dems and rep opposed Obama Care because it was making thing worst and not better for poor in New Orleans

I got taken with this type scam as well and lost a total of @422.00 which when I verified it as a scam asked for my money back...you guessed it//still no refund as promised. PLEASE BE CAREFUL.

What can you expect? Healthcare and prescription drugs brings a lot of money to these men and men in government.

My daughter's health plan and pediatrician were denying referrals, approving what I did not request and changing CPT CODES.And now Kaiser is putting me thru HELL.I need help, SERIOUSLY I can write a book.If someone knows of such person to help publish one, I'll gladly TELL ALL so I can put them on blast.. IT'S TOO MUCH FOR ONE WOMAN TO HANDLE... And the things will leave your mouth wide open. I PRAY ALL THUS INJUSTICES STOP SOON..

My background is in health care and know of Kaiser very well and their practices. I hope you have gotten your problems resolved, but if not I may be of some help.

IF you are already insured and/or trying to find adequate insurance/pharmacy coverage and an “Insurance” company has contacted you via phone, postal mail, e-mail, asking for money /personal information with an offer that sounds too good to be true…do NOT respond until you have contacted the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to verify said insurance company.

I don't know what to do my system is so jeapordized I can't even accurately post a comment wo hackers intervening. I have screenshots to prove what they were doing and I need someone to believe me. I saved what I could in a note but before I could read through and ensure my comment was accurate and not tampered with which I suspect strongly it was someone sent it in saying God knows what and I just want FTC to understand THIS IS NOT ME and I desperately need help in protecting myself and my personal security and the security of others I am close to and no corporate domains or IT companies will have anything to do w me BC of the corrosion of programs these hackers have been committing in my name. I am a welfare recipient and I hardly leave Brooklyn. These ppl are operating from all over the globe from what I've gathered.

How is it that the U.S. has so many scams that effectively rob, steal from, and defraud so many? Every day another scam surfaces, yet the prisons are full of low-level criminals, who hurt so few people. These scammers are the real menace to society.

I think regarding any health provider or insurance company, we too often forget that it really is important to do some research ahead of time. It's amazing how we often go to a dentists without a clue about how they are going to charge us, or what reputation they have etc. I found a great site with 12 things to consider before you see a dentist, but I think they would also apply to most any health care provider. Remember when we are armed with knowledge, we are so much more apt to get the quality we deserve at prices that are reasonable. So don't be afraid to ask the hard questions ahead of a visit. Anyway, sorry to read all the tough scenarios of those that have posted. We just have to remember, that knowledge ahead of time is our first line of defense against the health care mishaps.

Excellent info, I always go online and check scams or reviews before I purchase anything, like THIS savings card I was looking up and found out it is a scam.

I agree. I say "You don't get something for nothing" especially not in this society. Buyer beware. Check out everything that looks suspicious.

It is very interesting and useful topic. Thanks for sharing such a great post with us.

It's incredible that there are people who will stoop so low to prey on others.

Not everyone is fortunate to have “gold standard” health insurance coverage to take care of every possible combination of health care situation. When it comes to dealing with dental care, having a private dental insurance plan is your best option to deal with unexpected dental costs. However, what is the right type of dental insurance for you? there are a tonne of different plans, with differnt options. Lets clear this up once and for all.

How is it that the U.S. has so many scams that effectively rob, steal from, and defraud so many? Every day another scam surfaces, yet the prisons are full of low-level criminals, who hurt so few people. These scammers are the real menace to society.

For the past 6 months, I've spent a lot of time driving through places which only get right-wing AM radio. I am appalled at all of the scammer advertisers! Over and over there was a pitch for "Qualified Health." For only $3 per day, you get a discount card and "access" to doctors and hospitals. How CLEVER these scammers were to use the name "Qualified Health." Googling Qualified Health brings up the ACA as that is how the bill refers to acceptable insurance plans! It's such a misleading commercial (even more misleading than the other scams advertised on talk radio). I sure hope the feds prosecute! The intent of the scammers clearly is to deceive and defraud.

I received unsolicited postal mail from a Bethesda, MD address with cards from a discount program calling itself Singlecare. The message "This card is not insurance" is printed on each card. Smells like a scam!

I got one of those from Cleveland Ohio, I don't know what to do cause not only do I not go to the hospital or use prescriptions frequently, I'm 19 and they're supposed to be tethering older people.

I got one with an address from Columbus, Ohio, but the mail from zip code was from Bolingbrook, IL.
These "absolutely free pharmacy discount cards" look real fishy to me.

I got two prepaid cards for my whole family to use. Reads very fishy like others discount cards (up to 75% off and so many places) but from google checks/ address checks (zip code correct for address) no mention of a scam. I think its a new company so again suspicious. not much of a electronic footprint otherwise- So I imagine it is a scam - unless someone can verify.

Your state insurance commissioner’s office can tell you if a plan isn’t insurance and whether the seller is licensed in your state. The insurance commissioner may also be able to alert you to a scam. Find the commissioner for your state at naic.org or consumeraction.gov.

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

Well, this is pathetic. Here in the US, it's been from one scam to the other. I keep wondering when all these will end. I have made up my mind to be careful when dealing with this health insurance scheme. I knew it would get to the level. Some many desperate people here in America and im sure the prison cant accommodate all.

Most discount cards are free--and in that case, what is there to worry about? I use them all the time and they're essentially re-usable coupons. When I use a coupon for $.50 off of toothpaste at the grocery store, I don't think twice about it--same with the free pharmacy discount cards. Even if the discount isn't as much as I'd hoped, it's still a discount that was given to me--for free.

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.

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.

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