Ah, the good old medical discount plan. Seems that they’re being marketed heavily in northern Colorado at the moment. Remember what they say about things that sound too good to be true… In the case of medical discount plans, buyer beware. The Greeley Tribune is reporting that faxes are circulating with promises of $10 and $25 copays, and savings of “up to 60%” – keep in mind that a 1% savings still falls in the category of “up to 60%.” And the prices aren’t exactly a bargain either. One discount plan was being advertised with a price of $199/month for a single person. As long as a person is relatively healthy, there are plenty of good quality health insurance policies – that really are health insurance – that cost less than $199/month.
Don’t give up your real health insurance for discount program. If you’re trying to find a way to lower your health insurance premiums, you’d be much better off by increasing the deductible on your policy, or shopping for a new policy with a reputable health insurance broker. Even if you increase the deductible on your policy, you’ll still be able to have a clear picture of what your worst case scenario is in terms of out of pocket expenses. With a medical discount program, you never know until after a claim just how much you’ll save – and how much you’ll owe.
Always read the fine print. If there’s a notation anywhere that says “this is not health insurance”, chances are you could be getting a lot more bang for your buck by shopping for a real health insurance policy. If you’re unable to qualify for individual health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, and don’t have access to a group health insurance policy, you can apply for Cover Colorado. The premiums are higher than you’ll find on private policies, but the coverage is real health insurance, pre-existing conditions are covered for HIPAA eligible applicants, and you can choose a deductible as high as $10,000 in order to lower the premiums (and your coverage will still be better than a discount medical plan).