Why are medical discount cards being used instead of insurance?

Health insurance can be a costly expenditure, which could explain the growing number of people who are opting out of this form of back-up and looking for cheaper alternatives wherever they can find them. However, with more and more people looking at medical discount cards as a way of cutting back on the bills, it seems as though people are being misinformed as to what counts as a solid insurance plan. Medical discount cards have been advertised as having no deductibles or co-pays, giving the illusion that you’re ending up with the same deal as when you take out health insurance. Health insurance may cover you for those costly treatments and procedures in moments of emergency, but discounts wont – despite the promise that they can.

This isn’t quite the case though, leaving many people without any cover when they become ill or need treatments. Many experts and lawyers have stated that there should be clear warnings against this kind of activity and about the misleading sales pitches luring people into using them. Yet despite the risks, many people simply aren’t reading the fine print and are getting caught out by large bills and pricey treatments that they believed themselves to be covered for. Many medical discount companies claim that they can provide large savings on GP visits and treatments, prescriptions and even dental exams. However, this is simply not the case as they are unable to fulfil these claims. Consumers have been warned to be very sceptical of these types of promotions and should ask for as much information as they can in order to gain a full understanding before taking out any enrolment on these schemes.

In a recent lawsuit in Florida, a law firm won a case in which a company had pitched that its product could act as health insurance when it was in actual fact just a discount card – and with very little saving with even that. The monthly cost for the card, which had a limited use, was more than $100 – over 80 percent of people who had signed up to the card programme had ended their subscription within a six month period. In another case, a man in California is suing a company who he had taken out a programme with after he had suffered with a stroke and was landed with a $400,000 medical care bill – his card only covered him for $4500, yet he was unaware until the bill arrived. He hopes to gain compensation for the misleading claims the discount card offered when he took out the scheme.

Not all of the cards are made equal though. Some do offer genuine savings and can cover prescription expenses and medical procedures. But none of them are health insurance, something which is misleading in a number of claims. Experts are advising people to read the small print and gather as much information as they can before enrolling in any scheme, as well as being fully aware that, although they may gain a deal on their medical expenses, they aren’t covered for large claims in the same way insurance provides back-up. It’s also suggested that people get full information about the refund policy before they enrol, so that they are able to exit the programme if need be, without racking up a large debt. If it’s difficult to get the information, it’s not worth taking a risk if anything goes wrong, so you should look elsewhere for a similar deal or a different programme. It’s also worth doing your sums beforehand and checking that it is worth the money and the risk before you sign any papers.

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