11/13/2007 - Perhaps I should have been leery when I "looked up" MEGA again after a brief exchange in the spring of 2007. I received this response from the contact I had worked with previously:
I have actually moved into the commercial insurance consulting sector. HOWEVER, one of my best friends and former boss is still with the company. I trust him very much, and I think that he could take care of you very well. If you don't mind, I will forward your information to him and get him involved. Let me know what you would like me to do.
Boy, did that guy ever jump at the new prospect (me)! So, we scheduled an in-home meeting/consultation. Let's just say that the morning after (11/21/07) receiving a sales pitch from what seemed like a person of integrity and writing two checks - one for $700 to start a "health insurance" policy for me, my wife, and three teenage daughters; and the other for $130 to join NASE (National Association for the Self-Employed, I woke with an uneasy feeling and headed straight for the computer to do some research. I sent the following to the "agent" that ran out the door with my money the previous night:
"Good morning, I have done a little research and I am concerned with some of the things I have read about MEGA Life and Health. Examples include:
And even your own web site's "testimonials" have nothing to do with the health care coverage, just stuff like "benefits more than paid for our membership." I don't care about the fact that a member was towed for free or that they recouped the cost of the membership; I buy insurance because I want it to cover me for the situations and instances for which I am told it will cover me.
What I will do is shop for quotes from other providers (and research their publicity - good and/or bad) and get back to you. In the meantime, I would like to get three references from you - current customers with comparable policies (family of four or more) - that I can contact.
Also, please acknowledge receipt of this message with a phone call to yada-yada and return the two checks to us ASAP, either by mail or I will come pick them up.
Finally, this is not a personal attack in any way. I meant what I said about my perception of your honesty and integrity. If it is genuine, then I would think you may want to ask yourself if you are comfortable selling for MEGA. I once worked for a credit card servicing company that had some shady payment processing and customer fee practices (the company I worked for before I took a pay cut and moved to Texas in 2000). Let me just say that my conscious was cleared and the "weight" was lifted from my shoulders the day I quit."
I followed that email with a call to my bank to put a Stop Payment on the two checks. Of course, I didn't really think I would get legitimate references that I could contact, but I had to ask. I sent additional email messages requesting that the checks be returned to me or proof that they were destroyed, etc. I received no response for nearly a week and when he finally responded, I was told that he could not return my checks because he dropped the application & funds off at the main office first thing in the morning. He said I would have to call the company HQ to request a cancellation. Great!
Well fast forward a bit into December... I "updated" the agent (is that a legitimate title for someone who sells MEGA?) with the following message:
"Just wanted to let you know that despite my phone call to MEGA's customer care center and an actual acknowledgement letter dated 12/04/2007 confirming that they would "discontinue processing my application for the above coverage(s) under our insurance protection plan and/or all benefits applied for through the Association," your company STILL attempted to cash my premium check. This I know because I received a letter today, dated 12/14/2007, stating that "A check for $700.00 submitted with your application has been returned from your bank 'unpaid.' We have discontinued the issue process on your application for coverage."
Oh, really? Hmmm. Seems to me that I already "discontinued the issue process" when I called your customer care center and MEGA subsequently acknowledged it in writing. That should have been THE CLUE that they should not have attempted to cash the check. I received a similar letter from NASE dated 12/14/2007 stating "Your payment due 11/20/2007 the above membership number has been returned from your bank as a returned item. Therefore your membership has been discontinued as of 11/20/2007." So NASE tried to cash the check anyway too! I'm glad I had the wherewithal to request Stop Payments from my bank on those checks. Who knows how long it would have taken for me to receive my refunds once MEGA got their hands on my $830.00.
How ironic, too, that MEGA and NASE both responded the same day that they tried to cash checks for a policy that was discontinued via confirmed telephone call on 12/03/2007, agent name "Whats-her-face," cancellation #xxxxxxx, and moreover, that both letters were from the exact same address. But wait a minute! In the sales pitch you gave us, we were told that they were "entirely separate entities" and that membership in NASE would provide the "group benefit" that lowers the cost. Yeah, right, for a discount plan, maybe. I can negotiate better rates with my providers directly by telling them we'll be paying in cash.
I'll keep my COBRA coverage, thank you very much. For $961.22 per month, I am getting legitimate BlueCross BlueShield coverage, BlueCare dental, and Superior Vision via an HDHP and HSA (do you know what that is?). The aggregate deductible is $2,500.00, after which coverage is provided at 100%! Certainly, MEGA does not know what 100% is.
I hope you've taken an opportunity to research the steaming stuff you're shoveling. If not, here's a link again:
I will be the next to post to this site, so check back soon!"
Bottom line: STAY AWAY FROM MEGA LIFE & HEALTH and/or HEALTHMARKETS!!!!