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Health Discount Programs

Health discount programs, also referred to as health discount plans, are not considered health insurance. Health discount programs are not currently regulated in all states. Consumers should review program materials carefully to be certain the benefits are worth the cost.

Health discount programs claim to offer savings on prescription drugs, doctor and dental visits, vision care or other medical services.

Advertisements

Advertisements for health discount programs — often found on the Internet, through infomercials, or in "spam" email or faxes — boast that consumers can save up to 30% or more for such services. Generally, the programs indicate there is a network of providers who will discount their charges for program members.

Health discount program Operators and Marketers are regulated by the Utah Insurance Department, however, operators are not insurers and the product is not insurance.

Utah Code §31A-8a. Health Discount Program Consumer Protection Act

Rule R590-152. Health Discount Programs and Value Added Benefit Rule.


Consider the following before making a purchase

  • Health discount programs can be sold by anyone at any cost with any benefits.
  • They are not licensed insurance products, even when sold by licensed agents.
  • The protections and rights available to consumers under health insurance policies may not be available to members of a health discount program.
  • Health care providers in the discount program's "network" are often bound by contract to participate in the program and may stop offering the discount at any time (without notice to program members).
  • Many programs claim savings up to a certain percent. However, "up to 40%" does not mean a guaranteed 40% savings.
  • Verify with your health care provider that they are participating in the program.

Ask the following before enrolling

  • Is the product health insurance or is it a health discount program?
  • What are the benefits?
  • Do the health care providers, I frequent, accept the discount card / participate in the program?
  • Have I verified that my health care provider is currently participating in the program?
  • Who do I call if I have a problem with the program?
  • When receiving services that require immediate payment, how do I know I am getting the discount?
  • What does the cancellation language say?

Search the name of the Operator and Marketer to verify they are licensed with the Utah Insurance Department.

Current list of Operators and Marketers — if a name is not on the list, please search the Department website.

Health Discount Program Buyers Beware — these are not an insurance products and as such do not always provide the anticipated savings. Read the alert here.