Health discount plans are not always what they seem
DENVER – To help state residents avoid rip-off health care schemes, the state Department of Insurance has launched a campaign to educate consumers about discount health plans.A discount health plan is a type of “buyer’s club” that typically charges a monthly membership fee to consumers in exchange for a list of health care professionals who will purportedly provide services at a discounted rate to members. In recent years, as health insurance costs have increased significantly, Coloradoans have turned to discount health plans to meet their health care needs. Some discount health plans are legitimate, others are not. It is important for Colorado consumers to realize these plans are not insurance, Colorado Insurance Commissioner David Rivera said, and are not regulated by the Colorado Division of Insurance. The plans may not provide the benefits and cost savings that were promised. The provider list given to consumers may not be accurate, for example. Consumers may be required to pay for services and then seek reimbursement for the discount, or the price of membership may be greater than the discounts provided.”Consumers shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not the benefits promised to them will be there when they need them,” Rivera said. “Our campaign is designed to give consumers the upper hand against con artists who might try and take advantage of vulnerable Coloradoans.”As part of its campaign to inform state residents about health discount plans, the division has released a new educational brochure and a sample advertisement that illustrates common marketing ploys of which consumers should be wary. Prospective buyers are encouraged to “stop, call and confirm” with the Division of Insurance when shopping for a discount drug plan in order to make sure the product they are considering is legitimate. For more information, consumers can call the Colorado Division of Insurance at 1-(800) 930-3745, or visit their web page dedicated to discount health plans at http://www.dora.state.co.us/insurance/consumer/dischlthpl.htm.
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