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Medical discount plans aren't health insurance, and they're not a substitute for it. Some medical discount plans provide legitimate discounts, but some are just flat-out scams.
Operation Healthcare Hustle is the FTC's effort to stop scammers who are fleecing consumers of millions of dollars a year who are in desperate need of health insurance. People can learn that medical discount plans aren't health insurance, and they're not a substitute for health insurance. And in some instances, these plans are just flat-out scams.
So what you should do is try to learn as much as you can about the plan before you buy. That means if you can contact your state Insurance Commissioner or Better Business Bureau or state law enforcement agencies to find out as much as you can about the company offering the plan or the specific medical discount plan, or the claims being made about it. But above all, you should make sure you research the company and research the plan before you're paying any money for it.
Some of the warning signs you can look out for are promises of specific discounts or savings. For example, if a marketer tells you that you'll get 80% off on surgeries with a particular plan,
that should give you cause to ask for more information. Another warning sign is if a marketer refuses to provide you with written information about the plan.
That should always be an indication that you should either hang up and say "No thanks" or ask the marketer why they can't provide you with more information. And the final warning sign that you can look out for is just pressure to buy the plan immediately.
Legitimate plans or health insurance providers won't pressure you into buying their product immediately, so you should take that as an indication that the plan that's being marketed might not be what you think it is. It's extremely important to file complaints if you think you've been offered a fraudulent medical discount plan.
You can file complaints at ftc.gov, which is the Federal Trade Commission's website, or you can file them with your Better Business Bureaus, state Attorney Generals offices, or state Insurance Commissioners. The more complaints that we hear on these matters, the more effective we'll be in identifying and stopping them before they victimize others.
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