Legal Alert: Are You Paying Too Much for Healthcare? Are You Sure You’re Paying for Actual Healthcare?

By Kristina Ludwig, Fall 2014 Student Intern

backNow that the Affordable Care Act has made health care, well, affordable, people are out to save as much as possible on their health insurance. Unfortunately, while so many of us are grateful to no longer have to pay an arm and a leg to insure those arms and legs, some people are taking advantage of the new low-cost health care to perpetuate a new high-cost scam. Targeting the elderly and Spanish-speaking individuals, Partners in Health Care has been charged with allegedly misrepresenting discount cards as qualified Affordable Care Act health insurance plans.

Partners in Health Care telemarketers allegedly preyed upon people who were paying high premiums due to pre-existing medical conditions or job loss. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleges that the telemarketers would then assure their victims that Partners in Health Care’s low deductible insurance plans would pay for medical and emergency services or prescriptions with a minimal co-pay. After buying into the scheme—to include an enrollment fee and monthly payments, potentially adding up to several hundred dollars—customers would receive a discount card, which was, according to the FTC, essentially worthless, while remaining uninsured. The FTC filed a complaint and the federal district court granted a temporary restraining order halting the scam as both sides prepare for litigation.

For more on the discount card scheme, visit the FTC’s website here. To learn how to tell the difference between legitimate discounts and phony ones, visit the FTC’s Consumer Information website here.