Beware of Healthcare Policies That Seem Too Good To Be True

The old saying, “if it looks to good to be true, it probably is” applies to many aspects of life, including healthcare insurance policies. Insurers underwrite their policies according to risk and then price them accordingly. However, premiums can vary dramatically based on the type of coverage, the policy limits and deductibles. Chances are, the lower your premiums are, the less coverage you have.

There are now nearly 45 million people in the United States without health insurance according to the US Census Bureau. As such, many consumers now find themselves shopping for insurance in independent markets because their employer has reduced or eliminated coverage or because of being self employed. Too many consumers just don’t know what to look for or what questions to ask when purchasing insurance on their own. Unfortunately, many insurers realize this and are using sales techniques to make the consumer feel as though they’ve gotten a good policy with adequate coverage when they really haven’t.

One insurer, MEGA Life and Health Insurance Company, recently settled a class action lawsuit for using “associations” to bring in business. What consumers didn’t know was that the associations were really working for MEGA. According to consumer attorneys, the way these insurance products are marketed are through these agents, that, in order to sell the policies, advise insurance consumers that if they join a large groups of insurance consumers, they’re able to obtain group-like insurance at group-like premiums.

A Growing Concern

According to the US Government Accountability Office, consumers lost over $250 million dollars in unpaid claims from 2000-2002 from policies that were purchased from unlicensed health plans that were sold through these types of “associations”.

Consumers should do their research before signing up for any healthcare insurance. A phone call to the insurance commissioner of their state and an internet search on the company may shed additional light on the insurer’s licensing status and consumer practices.

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