Covered or Not? -P.2

There are legitimate medical savings and discount health plans out there.

But some that offer total coverage, accepting all pre-existing conditions and a deadline to call a toll free number.

You have to wonder, are you covered?

You may have received faxed flyers at home or your business. Some of them are on telephone polls throughout the city.

They promise to fully cover you and your family for doctor visits, hospital costs, surgical procedures, dental visits, prescription drugs, and eye care.

Some plans may cost you only $60 a month and for the entire family just $20 more.

If you had no health insurance you might give such offers a second look. Many people do and go even further.

Ben Gillard from the Nevada Insurance Division observes, "It sounds pretty good and if I can get you a discount, it is something. So it’s not for stupid people that fall for this issue, it’s kind of like selling water in a drought."

To find out what might happen to you or someone else who literally buys into these plans. We opened up a checking account at a local bank and made a call.

Operator: "We are a professional medical savings program we offer the same PPO rates that other insurance companies use but by eliminating the middle man we are able to pass the savings too you, we have more than 6-million doctors and providers nationwide. You will be covered for medical dental vision hearing chiropractics prescription drugs as well as any hospital stays or surgical procedures you might need."

The operator told me my professional medical savings plan was being offered by American Health Benefits headquartered she said out of Dallas, Texas. I was purchasing a Medical plan with broad coverage called Smart Health Care Solutions.

OPERATOR: We cover 80-percent medical lab and xrays. 60-percent dental, 65-percent vision and hearing 60-percent chiropractics and 60-percent prescriptions.

The operator wasn't interested in my height or weight, pre-existing conditions, if I was a smoker, if I drank, or about my family health history.

What she was interested in was having me sign on and with the help of simple prompts on the phone gain access to the checking account.

OPERATOR: Then it is going to give you a one-800-number at the end so don't hang up Ok?
RECORDING: Our providers insure that you will receive the deepest discount available. We are not a ...

OPERATOR: (clears throat)

RECORDING: Discounts given through provider contracts vary depending upon location and procedure.

By entering numbers and codes over the phone, American Health benefits now had access to the account-which would mean they could take their one-hundred-ten-dollar one time enrollment fee out of the account and then 59-95 every month for coverage...

OPERATOR: It will be taken out next Wednesday.
What will that money get me the next time I go to the doctor or hospital? We'll have that answer in our next report.