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RECOGNIZE Phone Fraud Learn about common telemarketing scams and how to avoid them.
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Fraudulent Medical Discount Plans

Affordable Health Care Plan! Pre-existing conditions? No problem! No Deductible or Co-pays! Thousands of providers in our PPO network! Discounts up to 60%!

Medical discount plans can be useful for consumers looking to save money on health care, but it is important to understand that these plans are not health insurance. If someone calls out of the blue to offer you a medical discount plan or if you see an ad for such a plan on the Internet or in a newspaper, these are some things you should know:

Medical Discount Plans: Investigate the details.

Some medical discount plans claim to provide big discounts from hundreds of providers for a wide range of services, from doctor visits and dental exams to hospital stays and prescription drugs. But many plans fail to make good on those claims. The FTC and many states have found that although some medical discount plans provide legitimate discounts that benefit their members, many take consumers' money and offer very little in return.

If you receive an offer for a medical discount plan investigate the details before making a decision.

  • Ask for a list of providers who participate in its plan. If the plan doesn't provide a list of providers in writing promptly, consider taking your business elsewhere.

  • Ask for a Web site where you can get more information. If your medical or dental providers don't participate, see whether other doctors in your area accept the plan and will give you the discount the plan promises.

  • Investigate the details of any plan carefully. Pay special attention to the refund policy.

  • Do the math. Try to calculate what your total payment for a discount plan will be for a given amount of time.

  • Call your local consumer protection office, state Attorney General, or Better Business Bureau to find out whether other consumers have complained about the business offering the discount plan.

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Medicare Part D Plans

If you're considering signing up for a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, be aware of scam artists who are reportedly contacting seniors claiming to represent Medicare Part D providers. All they really want is their personal information so they can commit financial fraud. To protect consumers, the law is very specific about what Medicare prescription drug plan providers may and may not do. For example:

  • » Medicare Part D plan representatives cannot call you if you've placed your telephone number on the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) National Do Not Call Registry. If you are not on the Registry, they may call you, but they cannot enroll you over the phone.
  • » Plans may not ask you for payment over the phone. They must mail you a bill for the premiums. There is no fee to enroll in a plan!

Resist signing up for a plan on the telephone unless YOU make the call and you know who you're dealing with. For more information, see Medicare Part D Solicitations: Words to the Wise About Fraud[PDF 44k]
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