Differences between medical discount plans and health insurance

Differences between medical discount plans and health insurance

There is a difference between medical discount plans and health insurance. Health insurance is a policy that guards against risk of incurring medical expenses among consumers. Health insurance provides coverage for medicine, visits to the do the doctor or emergency room, hospital stays and other medical expenses. Health care insurance polices vary in what they cover. The type of policy determines premium rates, deductibles, co-payments, limits of coverage and options for treatment available to the policyholder. Often times there is a waiting period and possible denial of health insurance due to a pre-existing condition. Usually with such policies a consumer has to take a physical or answer medical questions during the pre-screening before underwriting can begin. Also, health care claim forms have to be filed (whether by the consumer or provider) before payments to the provider or reimbursements to the policyholder can be released.

Medical discount plans provide members with a professional network of healthcare providers, specialists, pharmacies, and other health-related service providers of which have already agreed to give consumers special discounted rates on medical services. Members can receive discounted rates on services like physician care, eye exams (and other vision services), dental care, and prescription medications. Some plans even offer discounts on hearing services, hearing aids, and chiropractic services. In many cases these discount plans also offer a substantial savings on orthodontic, lasik eye and cosmetic surgeries.

These plans are not healthcare coverage, but rather a network of providers who agree to provide discounts to members of specific plans. The plans do not require physicals, pre-screening questionaires, or claim forms. All preexisting conditions are accepted and there are no limitations or age restrictions and no waiting periods. Members of a medical discount plan simply present their membership cards to the participating provider when payments for services are due and members simply pay the discounted rate.

Any consumer can enroll in a medical discount plan for a nominal monthly fee. Consumers can opt for dental coverage only or a more comprehensive plan to include, medical, vision, dental, and prescription.

As a reminder, It is important not to confuse medical discount plans with health care insurance. These discount plans are beneficial to consumers who do not have insurance or whose insurance does not cover dental or vision care (including eye exams and eye glasses). These programs are very beneficial by offering members substantial savings. However, none of these plans can be used in the event of a hospitalization or an emergency. Medical discount plans will not cover the cost of emergency room visits, surgical procedures, or hospital bills.

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