Discount Plans

If you are looking for health insurance, know what you are buying. It is important to know the difference between health insurance and discount health plans. Medical discount plans aren’t a substitute for health insurance.

If you buy a health insurance plan, it generally covers a broad range of services, and pays you or your health care provider for a portion of your medical bills. If you buy a medical discount plan, you are paying for a list of providers and sellers who may be willing to offer “discounts” on some of their services, products or procedures. But medical discount plans don’t pay your health care costs.

Medical discount plans can be a way for some people to save money on their health care costs. But the federal government advises that although some medical discount plans provide legitimate savings, others take people’s money and offer very little in return. They have also found that dishonest marketers selling these plans have tried to make people think they’re selling health insurance. Legitimate discount health care companies make clear that the access they provide to discount health services is not insurance.

With health care premiums increasing, many Americans are searching for more affordable health insurance. When you consider a discount plan’s monthly premiums and enrollment fees, consider whether the discount will be worth the costs. Remember, even if you have a discount plan, if you have major health problems or an emergency, you will have to cover the bills if you don’t have health insurance.

If you decide to pursue a medical discount plan, look for a telephone number or website of the company you're considering doing business with so you can get more information. Before you decide to purchase, ask the company for a list of participating providers. Consider whether the discounts actually apply to the doctors and hospitals where you get care. Call them and ask about the services and discounts they're offering. You can also check the Division of Insurance website to see if the company offering the plan is registered to sell insurance in Nevada. And make sure that you understand clearly the differences between health insurance and discount plans.