Monday, January 18, 2010

Watch Out for Insurance Rip-offs and Scams

HealthInsurance.Net is bringing attention to the latest health insurance scams and I thought I'd pass them along:

Beware of “discount programs.”
Sometimes health insurance is fashioned as a “discount program,” or a “members only plan” with terms that are hard to believe. These programs may offer a set fee for medical services provided by doctors in their network or discounts on some common medical treatments by physicians.
The discount program may offer other services for 20-30% off normal price; however, prices and covered services can be subject to change for any reason, at any time.
In some cases patients may go to the doctor under the assumption that the price provided at the time they signed up is fixed, but could end up paying a higher price for such services performed.
From time to time discount plans may be marketed as actual health insurance, but in some cases they are not, and are not subject to the same regulations or benefits.
Also, in some cases, consumers may find that of the original list of local doctors accepting the card, not all are actually still in business.
This is not to say all discount programs are health insurance rip-offs (most are probably legitimate and valuable programs), however, it's worth looking into the details to be sure you are getting what is expected from your program.

Do your homework when picking a health insurance broker
Only deal with a licensed health insurance agent.
One of the easiest ways to find a quality, local agent is to use an insurance agent network service like the one found at
These services provide quotes from multiple health insurance companies, rather than only one or two companies that may be provided from another source. This ensures all the best options are available.
A free, downloadable guide that outlines many of the differences in today’s health insurance plans is available at

Make a list
Families should compile a complete list of who needs coverage and what type of coverage they will need, i.e. coverage of doctor visits, prescriptions, and pregnancies.
In the list include ages, height, weight, and medical conditions or prescriptions currently and recently taken.

Commit to a budget that is realistic
After receiving quotes from a broker, review each benefit.
Compile a list of all questions or concerns, and return to the insurance agent. The agent is there to provide custom health insurance for each family’s needs. Health insurance coverage is probably one of the most important purchases that a family can make, be sure that the plan will work now and in the future.

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