RENO, NV - You may have recently received a discount card in the mail promising up to 75% of your prescription drugs. Recent changes to health care insurance have left many people confused, so you may be wondering is it real, or is it a scam? "Where we get concerned, is when they market themselves or sell themselves as insurance or in lieu of insurance," explains Jake Sunderland of the Nevada Division of Insurance.
We talked to him about a card from Healthcare Alliance, which has been mailed to many people in our area. It comes in an envelope stamped with the words "your health benefits cards are enclosed," even though it is not addressed to anyone specific. Written on the card itself are the words "this card is not insurance." Sunderland says that type of program won't fulfill your requirement under the Affordable Care Act, but it could save you a few dollars.
"You can easily save $10 or $15," says pharmacist David Vasenden. He along with other local pharmacists tell us you could save a few dollars on the cash price, but you might end up paying the same rate. Either way, you'll always get a lower price through your insurance provider and the two programs can not be used together.
Sunderland advises avoiding discount cards that require you to pay a fee. Healthcare Alliance doesn't require a fee, and the cards don't have your name so the company is unable to get your protected medical information. You may wonder how they make their money. We spoke with an employee who says they get paid by the drug companies they work with. With minimal risk. Sunderland says it could be worth your time to check the discounted price against what you're paying now.
If you have questions about a program, you're encouraged to call the Nevada Division of Insurance. Click on the link to the right for more information.