Qualified Health Complaint - Card may not even be worth the registration fee.
I will preface this report by saying this is not exactly a "rip-off" but I do want add my 3 cents worth to caution others about this company whether or not they want to risk $20. They also offer health cards under other name (cust. serv. agt. when I called said other name but I think all calls for different companies go to 1.800.561.4480.
Since I am in generally good health, health insurance isn't economically a good option for me especially since health insurance companies are more concerned with one age whether than one's general health so when I got a mailer for this company when I googled them, and all I saw about them was an inquiry about them on the New York Better Business Bureau but no formal complaint was filed and there were no other negative reports (there have been other companies offering health discount cards that HAVE had a bad rap but I couldn't find any connection with this company.)
I went on the website where they had a link to some of the doctors who offered discounts (supposedly) with this plan. There were five doctors on the list I called one of the doctors and since I didn't have a membership number he said he couldn't tell me what the discount was. The other doctor said they would get back to me but never did. When I called the Q, the company assured me that they had many more doctors than listed on the website link but couldn't tell me unless I joined. Since they offered a refund of your first month (which was $75) minus the twenty dollars registration fee I decided to take the risk.
After joining and getting my membership number I called to get more doctors and of the 5 cardiologists on the list, three were no longer participating, so they gave me three more. Of the two on the original list, the two I originally called, one said they hadn't heard of them, the second said they did NOT take the card. Of the three new ones, one, the doctor was no longer at the practice and the present doctor never heard of them, at the second, that doctor never had been there and that present doctor never heard of them, and with the last, the doctor had never heard of them either!!!
I was very disappointed and contacted the company and asked if I could get a complete refund due to the fact that the card was totally useless for me. I was told verbally over the phone that I would get a refund minus the twenty dollars due to the company policy (they would not honor my request) but a week later received a testy letter saying they say that the would not offer me a refund unless I agreed that I would accept the refund on their terms and fax a letter back (I would hardly sue a company in New York for $20 being in Calif.). They also seem to admonish me for asking for the non-refundable fee back although I had already told them I completely understood the policy, but only requested the full refund due to the fact I couldn't use the card at ALL. (Found out after I faxed the letter back that it was just a threat, it had already been credited to my credit card.)
To their benefit, the customer service agents were polite and the company refunded what they promised. Perhaps if I didn't look for a doctor within 20 miles of me (I live in the L.A. area so there should've been many to choose from) I may have been able to find a doctor or since they say that they can negotiate discounts off hospital visits, maybe then could've done that. However I have heard of companies that do that, where you don't pay anything upfront they just get part of the savings you get, or you may be able to negotiate the savings yourself.) The only positive thing was one of the doctors was one of the cheapest when I called around, but that was his regular non-card price and I wasn't sure that I wanted to go to him, as it was in a poorer Hispanic neighborhood.
What I am more concerned with than the money, is the company on the up and up, do they really have doctors participating in the plans or do they put their doctors on their list without their knowledge? All the doctors seemed of foreign origin, if they did take the card, were they willing to take the card because they had less patients for that reason or did they just have lower prices because they may be in poorer neighborhoods and thus the quality of care may not be quite as good as other locations?
I am more disappointed than mad, I think this is a good idea but based on my experience I would not do it again, for those that absolutely can't afford or can't get health insurance due to their health, $20 to find out may not seem too much to see if it works for them but it's caveat emptor for all!!!