The COBRA insurance I had on my ex-husband's medical insurance was due to be terminated for me because I could have it for only 18 months post-divorce. So I had to find a different medical insurance. I had been looking around but couldn't find anyone to cover me because I have multiple sclerosis and a host of other chronic problems. Just about that time (early last November, 2008) I received a fax from Assn. for Lifestyle Reform, also known as Association Benefits, offering me medical insurance, no exam required, pre-existing conditions no problem, only $20.00 co-pay, no deductible to meet, and I could go to virtually any doctor, any hospital, anyplace, and it would be covered. I needed health coverage as my COBRA was due to run out at the end of that month. Sounded almost too good to be true I thought at the time. Turns out it was. I should have listened to my gut on this one.
Gave them my credit card # as they said they would bill my insurance for $199.00 on the 25th of each month. Plus a nonrefundable $125.00 "enrollment fee." Mid-November I get a notice from the bank which sponsors my credit card telling me they were switching from Visa to MasterCard and that we customers would have to notify anyone who has automatic charges put on their account each month as the credit card and number had changed. So I called Association Benefits and notified them of the change. They told me to fax over a change form, all filled out, with a copy of my credit card. They told me no problem for November's billing because if the charge didn't go through in November, they would just bill me twice in December. I faxed over the form and thought everything was taken care of.
On February 7, 2009, (a Saturday) I received a very brief form letter from them informing me that my coverage had been terminated effective November 30, 2008. This is when I started smelling that something really was not right and wishing I had listened to my gut to begin with.
I called them February 9, 2009 (Monday), and asked them if they could check in their system and tell me what my status was with their company. They told me I had been terminated effective November 30, 2008. So I asked them, if I had been terminated November 30, 2008, (a) why did they not notify me of this "termination" until almost 3 months after the fact and (b) why did they continue to bill my credit card so far 3 additional times since I was supposedly terminated?
Each time I posed a question to the girl answering the phone, she would put me on hold for a few minutes and then come back with some vague non-answer. The several times I have conversed with someone from this "company," man or woman, the person has always been rude, not helpful at all, and very unprofessional-like. And a whole lot of putting you on hold. For even the simplest of questions. Not like a true customer service representative would be at all.
The girl I talked to this morning said their charge in November had been rejected by my credit card company. I told her yes, that was because the credit cards had been changed by my bank, but that I had called in late November and notified a girl there who said she would take care of everything if I would just fax her over the information. This morning the girl (of course, not the same girl) had no idea what I was talking about, could not locate any fax sent by me, and asked me to re-fax the same info. Then she asked me if I wanted to be reinstated with their company. If I had agreed to this, I am quite sure I would have been billed another $125.00 "enrollment fee."
Well, I said NO! And I told her I was realizing they were just a bogus company. She did not deny it or defend her company in any way. Just sat there and then said "thank you for calling" and hung up. Not a thing resolved by her except that she knew that I knew.
So I spent the next few hours of my valuable time contacting my credit card company, filed a dispute with them so that they will investigate the charges made to my account, 2 in December of 2008 and 1 in January of 2009, for a total of $597.00. The first two charges which were made the first month for $199.00 plus the $125.00 "enrollment fee" I decided I would just eat. It was still less than what I was paying for COBRA (almost $500.00/month). Anyway then I cancelled my credit card and asked to be issued a new card with a new number from my bank because with all this supposed health care company was doing that didn't feel right or legit, I didn't want them having my credit card number at their disposal.
At present I am trying to get a stop payment put on the charges for December ($398.00) but even then, this whole fiasco I know is nothing but a scam. I consider myself an intelligent woman, and I distinctly remember thinking when I made my first call to this "company" after receiving the fax offering me health coverage at fantastic rates that it sounded too good to be true. They got me anyway.
I read an almost identical ripoff report written by a woman from Texas, I'm sorry I don't recall her name (Casie or something similar?), and when I read her letter, I KNEW this whole thing had been a scam. The description of what happened to her was almost identical to what happened to me. Shame on me for falling for it. Now I just need to see how much it all has cost me.
Another thing that didn't sit right with me from the get-go was that there was no street address for this "company." I found a couple of different names for the company, different P.O. boxes, different zip codes even. When I tried to look up the company's website, the site just "happened" to be down. I asked the girl about that also and she said they were "working on updating the website." I never could get onto their website.