“Not real health insurance. RUN AWAY FAST! Contract with a well-known company instead!”
None. Product isn’t real health insurance and does not meet the minimum essential benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Agents are required to state that in the presentation so this is accurate. Completely high priced garbage products. Doctors and hospitals laugh at people who present their USHA’s/Freedom Life’s so-called “insurance” card to them to pay for services. Save your time and reputation as an agent and go work for real carriers with real insurance products.
Everything! If you spent your time and money to become a reputable, licensed insurance agent, then why contract with a company that no one knows about and that doesn’t even offer a legit health insurance product? I made that mistake and wasted 2-3 months of my time dealing with this company and their anti-Obamacare tactics. At least contract with reputable carriers DIRECTLY like Humana, Aetna, Assurant, Mutual of Omaha. I quit USHA and never felt better. Nothing beats selling with a well-known carrier that you know their products are lawful and legit for customers. I have a conscience. Selling non-aca plans just didn’t sit right especially seeing how high their premiums are for plans that aren’t even essential health benefits according to the government. US Health Advisors are scammers selling doo-doo products. Who has ever heard of Freedom Life? They don’t have a working website. Like i said, i made that mistake because i got caught up in the “potential income earnings hype” They send the same old webinar video to new recruits stating you can make $10k your first month or close to it and that it’s “life changing”. YEA RIGHT! Don’t believe the BS. Go sell some real plans with real companies! You have to pay a background fee which $92 isn’t that much but many carriers don’t make you pay to get contracted normally. United Healthcare and Assurant have some appointment fees depending on which states you sell in and no background check fees, but it’s worth being under well-known national companies with actual insurance coverage and you can sell in all 50 states not just a select few. USHA will probably respond to this just like they have been doing with all the rest of the posts on here, trolling the internet trying to cover their BS. Don’t fall for them! You have been warned! Do you due diligence and do your research on USHA before giving them any money or your time. Leads are free either..THEY LIE AND SAY THEY GIVE YOU A LOT OF GOOD LEADS. Managers might pay for leads but the leads are crummy through Precise leads or some other wannabe Net Quote. Not worth the fancy back office and email set up they have. the only “nice” thing i can say they have for agents.
Advice to Management
GET OUT OF THE INSURANCE BUSINESS! YOU HAVE SO MANY COMPLAINTS ONLINE FROM SO MANY PEOPLE YOU’VE SCAMMED WITH YOUR FAKE “INSURANCE” IT’S PATHETIC. PEOPLE WHO ARE TALKING ABOUT THEY FIGURED OUT THAT THE HEALTH INSURANCE YOU CLAIMED TO COVER THEM WASN’T REALLY COVERAGE. PROBABLY LAWSUITS IN THE MAKINGS AS I AM SURE. THIS MLM SCHEME WILL BE SHUT DOWN IN A MATTER OF TIME. NOTHING BAD EVER STAYS AFLOAT FOR TOO LONG. I WASTED $92 FOR THE BACKGROUND CHECK FEE. I AM SO GLAD I DIDN’T SPEND ANY MORE MONEY INTO THIS AS SOME OTHER AGENTS HAVE AND GOT BURNED ONCE THEY FIGURED OUT THE REAL DEAL.
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Junk health insurance
Stingy plans may be worse than none at all
It might seem to be health insurance, if you don’t look too closely, and most people don’t. The premiums are surprisingly affordable. And so millions of unemployed people, service industry workers, and those taken in by fast-talking telemarketers sign up. They may think they’re insured—until they have a medical problem and find out that their coverage is as skimpy as a hospital gown.
The Affordable Care Act was supposed to usher in a new era of consumer-friendly health care. For instance, insurers are no longer allowed to put outrageously low limits on the amount they pay out for medical care in a year or lifetime.
While millions of Americans have benefited from that and other reforms, many are still prey to the kind of skimpy “junk” plans the new law was designed to eliminate. Some plans, known as mini-meds, are operated by employers and brand-name insurance companies with special dispensation from the federal government. Others, such as health discount cards and fixed benefit indemnity plans, from companies you’ve probably never heard of, are so meager that regulators don’t consider them to be health insurance at all—though that’s frequently not clear to consumers. And some of the companies operate one step ahead of the law.
Legal but inadequate
Judith Goss, 48, of Macomb, Mich., believed that the Cigna plan she obtained through her job at the Talbots retail chain was “some type of insurance that would cover something.” When the store she worked at closed in January 2011, she even paid $65 a month to keep the coverage through COBRA.
“I was aware that it wasn’t a great plan, but I wasn’t concerned because I wasn’t sick,” she says. But in July 2011 she was diagnosed with breast cancer, at which point the policy’s annual limits of $1,000 a year for outpatient treatment and $2,000 for hospitalization became a huge problem. Facing a $30,000 hospital bill, she delayed treatment. “Finally my surgeon said, ‘Judy, you can’t wait anymore.’ While I was waiting my tumor became larger. It was 3 centimeters when they found it and 9 centimeters when they took it out.” After a double mastectomy, radiation treatments, and reconstructive surgery, Goss is taking the drug tamoxifen to prevent recurrence.
The Talbots Cigna Starbridge plan is one of many similar mini-med insurance products aimed at workers in industries such as retail, food service, and temporary staffing agencies. Their hallmark is extremely limited benefits, often, as with the Talbots plan, no more than a few thousand dollars a year. A Cigna promotional brochure touts the plans as “coverage for everyone” and reassures employers that they don’t have to contribute to the cost of the coverage if they don’t want to.
“Employers want to be able to tell employees they have something in the area of health insurance,” says David West, director of the Center for a Changing Workforce, a research and advocacy organization based in Seattle. “And most consumers have very little understanding of the details of health insurance until they’re faced with a catastrophic illness.”
Mini-med plans like these were supposed to become history after the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. The new law says that health plans can no longer put an annual or lifetime cap on essential health benefits such as doctors, hospitals, tests, and prescription drugs.
But then, in the fall of 2010, the Wall Street Journal reported that McDonald’s threatened to drop its mini-med plan, with annual coverage limits as low as $2,000, rather than offer the more generous coverage the new law required. (The company later said that the real threat was that if its insurance company had to stop offering the plan, it would have to hastily seek out “the best affordable available options” that “would not measure up” to the ones it currently offered.) Other companies with low-wage workers were also complaining. Around the same time, the government started granting temporary waivers allowing existing mini-meds to continue until 2014. That’s when the health reform law goes fully into effect and low-wage workers will be able to obtain comprehensive subsidized coverage on their own or qualify for Medicaid.
As of January 2012, the government had given waivers to 1,231 plans covering 3.9 million people. The Cigna Starbridge products, including Goss’s plan, were some of the largest to receive a waiver.
“I’m not here to defend this coverage,” says Neil Trautwein, vice president and employee benefits policy counsel for the National Retail Federation. “It’s simply a fact of life in many industries, including retail and restaurants. In those industries, the difference between the cost of labor and the price on the shelf is pretty thin. And insurance is part of compensation.”
“There was hope that the mini-meds would be quickly gone,” recalls John E. McDonough, now a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health who, as a Senate staff member, helped draft the reform law. But the law’s creators also realized that their hopes might be unrealistic, given that until 2014, “if you lose your mini-med, you would most likely just end up with no coverage at all,” he says.
‘Insurance’ that isn’t
Other misleading products, such as fixed indemnity plans and discount cards, are aimed at people who don’t have employer group insurance, not even a mini-med, and may be having a hard time buying on their own because they can’t afford it or have a pre-existing condition.
If you’ve ever received a fax or robo-call or seen a late-night TV ad offering affordable health insurance, it was most likely for one of those products. And they’re all over the Internet.
“People go to Google and type in ‘affordable health insurance,’ ” says Robert Lisson, deputy commissioner of consumer services at the North Carolina Department of Insurance. “Chances are they’re going to get a bunch of hits on websites that exist solely to generate leads for marketers who call them back in 10 minutes. The sales pitch is that this stuff is great, as good as what you had.”
That’s exactly what happened to Ted Tenenbaum, 59, of Honolulu, who went on Social Security disability in late 2011 because of a serious chronic pain condition.He was able to continue his regular group health insurance, a $440-a-month Hawaii Blue Cross-Blue Shield PPO, through COBRA but expected to have to give it up when he and his wife moved to Florida in early 2012 to be near his brother.
“So I just went online, and at one point or another an application came up to fill in, and I gave my phone and e-mail address,” Tenenbaum says, “and very shortly after that I got a phone call from this one young lady, who left me a message, very excited, saying she had a plan for me and she had worked with people in my situation before.”
The key feature of these products is that they are not health insurance as most people think of it. What are they instead? Usually one or both of the following:
Fixed benefit indemnity plans. These plans will reimburse you a set sum, generally low, for medical services, after which you’re on your own, most likely with a load of medical debt if you experience a major health problem. The $450-a-month plan Tenenbaum was sold was a typical one: it pays $100 apiece for up to five doctor visits a year, $50 a year for screening tests, and $1,000 a day for up to 30 days in the hospital. A typical hospital stay runs about $1,850 a day, and these plans cover little if any of the associated costs, such as tests, medications, and surgery. Unlike mini-meds, which though stingy function like real insurance policies and charge very low premiums, indemnity plans can cost as much as major medical insurance.
Medical discount cards. They promise you, as the name implies, discounts on medical services and other products in exchange for a monthly fee.
While neither of those products is illegal, neither are they major medical health insurance. In fact, fixed benefit indemnity plans are not subject to the provisions of the new health reform law, and come 2014, when everyone must have some kind of health plan or pay a tax penalty, they won’t qualify as coverage.
The problem, say regulators and consumer advocates, is that all too often they’re sold to unsuspecting consumers as if they were health insurance—these days, sometimes with the implication that the plans are part of health care reform.“It’s amazing how quickly these companies appear and disappear,” says Stephen Finan, senior director of policy for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “They’re small operations that are one step ahead of the sheriff.”
Sometimes, however, the sheriff catches up. Here are examples drawn from recent regulatory actions:
In California, regulators shut down HealthcareOne, a telemarketed Arizona-based discount card program that advertised itself as “A Real Healthcare Plan Starting For As Little As About 25 Cents a Day” and “a comprehensive Healthcare Program that makes healthcare affordable for everyone.” When consumers tried to use the program, which sold for as much as $90 a month, they couldn’t find providers willing to offer the promised discounts. The receiver appointed to manage HealthcareOne’s affairs estimated that the company was bringing in $500,000 to $600,000 a month.
The National Better Living Association, a Georgia company peddling a fixed indemnity policy, misleadingly told a Montana consumer with a heart condition “that his preexisting condition was covered and, had to be, because [of] new federal health reform legislation,” according to an investigation by the Montana Department of Insurance. A pregnant customer was told “that NBLA would reduce her hospital bills by 70 percent through negotiations with the hospital.” The discounts never materialized and she was left with more than $20,000 in bills. Regulators are seeking fines and restitution from the company.
Adding to the confusion, many plans combine indemnity and discount features “in such a way as to parrot the coverage of conventional health insurance,” says a 2010 report by Colin Gordon, senior research consultant to the Iowa Policy Project.
“One strategy is to have the same plan with eight different websites and eight different names but the same pitches,” Gordon says. They are “sold and resold, branded and rebranded, down a pyramid of third-party vendors and marketers.”
Ted Tenenbaum, for instance, bought his plan through a website for an entity called USHealth Group, but his membership card displays 12 other brand names, including the real name of the company, Freedom Life Insurance Corp. of Texas, that provides the fixed indemnity plan.
“Don’t buy fixed benefit plans,” says Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation and an expert on individual insurance. “You’ll still be uninsured but out a bunch of money.”
Health Coverage Fast Reviews
Health insurance scam artists rolled into action as soon as the new US medical cover legislation was signed into law.
Selling bogus health insurance plans and gathering personal information for non-existent health ID cards, the crooks have netted millions of dollars across the US.
We have the latest information on the scams, plus advice from insurance industry experts on how to spot them.
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Let’s check out today’s…
10 Warning Signs Of A Health Insurance Scam
Within just days of the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passing into law, a health insurance scam flooded into almost every US state, raking in millions of dollars for worthless policies.
The new health insurance law eventually will require everyone to have medical cover. But that’s not till 2014.
And even limited changes providing earlier options for people with pre-existing health conditions don’t come into force until September this year.
But that didn’t stop crooks from offering bogus health insurance plans — by phone (including toll-free lines), email and door-to-door.
In some cases, they really sell discount cards or limited-benefit plans, which are legal. But the scammer doesn’t explain the very limited benefits, or may overcharge for premiums.
Other times they have nothing to sell but a fake health insurance plan that may look real but have no value.
In both cases, victims usually don’t find out until they make a claim.
Sometimes, the health insurance scam artists even claim to be federal agents collecting information for a new identity card system that they falsely say will be part of the new program. This is merely a phishing attempt for identity theft.
They use high pressure sales techniques and may claim victims have to sign up before a looming deadline.
All of this is totally untrue.
“Scams based on current events are nothing new,” says John Huff, director of the Missouri state insurance department. “We’ve seen it with everything from H1N1 to federal stimulus money to health care reform. Consumers should not be fooled and should stop, call and confirm.”
In a published alert, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and Consumer Reports magazine advised the public to be wary of salespeople who say the health coverage they’re peddling is required by law, don’t explain the coverage or benefits fully, or say the premium is good only for a limited time.
They also may claim that coverage will be exempt from changes under the new law. In reality, only policies bought before President Obama signed the legislation are exempt from changes required by the law.
The NAIC website has a full list of frequently asked questions about the health care reform.
10 warning signs
Meanwhile, the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud lists 10 warning signs that what’s on offer may turn out to be a health insurance scam:
1. You receive a persistent barrage of phone and email messages or see flyers offering incredibly low-priced deals.
2. You’re pressured to “sign up now” because the deal won’t last. The sales rep may even demand your personal financial details before a “policy” can be issued.
3. The scammer claims to be working for a government agency or working on an officially-sanctioned program. They may even use a term like “Obamacare” to describe the service they work for. There’s no such thing as “Obamacare.” Even in 2014, the government does not plan to operate in this way.
4. The terms of the insurance are just “too good to be true.” This is always a big scam giveaway. If it’s cheap, you’re almost certainly not going to get the coverage you might want or expect — if anything at all.
5. The sales rep is cagey or evasive about the details of the policy, perhaps avoiding answering your questions and claiming the information you need is in the brochure. They may even decline to show you an actual policy.
6. They say you must join an “association” or “union” to get the coverage you need. These organizations may not even exist or may not be relevant to your interests, but the use of the name seems to make the deal seem more credible.
7. They use official-looking or well-designed websites to give them the appearance of respectability and honesty. You may be encouraged to sign up online but, again, the policy details will be sketchy.
8. Your supposed insurance card or policy just doesn’t turn up. If it’s genuine, you should expect to see it promptly.
9. Similarly, the “insurer” fails to pay your medical bills promptly. When you inquire or complain, the company blames accounting errors or other delays.
10. The rep contends that the policy is exempt from the need for state licensing because it comes under the provisions of a special federal law, such as ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act). This is not true.
These health insurance scams now operate in most states, says the coalition, “exploiting a perfect storm of vulnerability”: millions of Americans without health insurance, mounting job layoffs, and rising health premiums.
If you are interested in or concerned about health insurance plans, you should talk to a reputable agent.
Be sure to check that the agent is licensed and the policy and insurance company are legitimate. Do this via your state insurance department. Find a map and contact details for each state on the NAIC site.
With almost four years before the part of the new law requiring health insurance comes into force, the crooks have plenty of time to refine and spread their health insurance scam and target new victims — make sure you’re not one of them.
That’s all for today — we’ll see you next week.