Ohio medical discount plans. The Good: They don’t cost much. The Bad: A lot of things. The Ugly: Even more things. You may have seen these slogans on television or online:
“No deductibles or copays”
“Discounts up to 50%”
“All pre-existing conditions accepted” “
Call Now. This offer ends at midnight.”
Quite simply… An “Ohio Medical Discount Plan” is not insurance since the member is responsible for paying all medical bills. These plans simply offer lower prices on services that accept these discounts. Most often, you can bargain with many of the providers and negotiate some of the lower prices yourself. Also, legitimate policies contain “essential health benefits in Ohio,” while non-approved options do not.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), some of these policies claim to offer huge discounts for a wide range of services, including hospital stays, doctors visits, prescription drugs and dental exams. And many of these contracts gladly take consumer’s money without offering much in return. If you’re interested in the legal definition from the Ohio revised code, here is the link.
They are also spreading. Many companies from outside of the Buckeye state are targeting residents. To lure customers, it’s quite common they’ll make unusual promises about savings and benefits. The salespersons marketing them, often don’t need (or have) a license or healthcare background.If you ask specific questions, you’ll likely not get a direct answer in return.
Mysterious upfront “administration” charges and hidden expenses also tend to show up with these types of policies. Also, after you have been treated, you may learn that your $5,000 bill has only been reduced by $400 and not the $4,000 you expected.
But help is on the way. In 2007, Ohio law placed new requirements on discount medical plans in an effort to provide greater consumer protection. This law requires medical discount contracts to have written agreements with network hospitals and doctors to help insure consumers received promised discounts. In fact, the Department of Insurance can investigate and take action against medical discount plans that violate the law.
In rare instances, where members are uninsurable, and the Open Enrollment plan is too expensive, they may be the only option. But if you are forced to consider this type of coverage, please make sure your doctor accepts the card and follow these suggestions:
*Call your local Better Business Bureau to find about complaints against the company.
*Make sure that any type of “up-front fee” is completely refundable.
* If your personal medical and dental providers don’t participate in the plan, go elsewhere.
*Instead of purchasing this type of coverage, you may be able to negotiate a similar discount directly with your personal providers.
Also, you may qualify for a government subsidy on an Ohio State Marketplace policy (ask us about details). Your premium may be lower than you anticipated and pre-existing conditions would be covered.
Ohio medical discount plans are not the same as conventional plans. Please…be careful!