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  • Report: #293106

Complaint Review: MEGA Life And Health - NASE - HealthMarkets

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  • Submitted: Wed, December 19, 2007
  • Updated: Fri, May 09, 2008

  • Reported By:Cypress Texas
MEGA Life And Health - NASE - HealthMarkets
9151 Boulevard 26 North Richland Hills, Texas U.S.A.

MEGA Life And Health - NASE - HealthMarkets Deceptive sales pitch selling what appears to be legitimate "health care coverage" under the guise of group ratings via NASE North Richland Hills Texas

*Consumer Suggestion: Watch Out For These Guys

*Consumer Comment: You are Smart

*Author of original report: Response to "Smokin"

*Author of original report: Response to "Smokin"

*Author of original report: Response to "Smokin"

*Author of original report: Response to "Smokin"

*Consumer Comment: cobra

*Consumer Comment: cobra

*Consumer Comment: cobra

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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:

http://usatoday.com/money/industries/insurance/2007-09-04-limited-coverage_N.htm?csp=34#uslPageReturn

http://www.delawareinsurance.gov/departments/news/101007-Press-MegaLifeHealthFined.shtml

http://www.boston.com/business/globe/articles/2006/10/24/ag_sues_low_cost_health_insurer_on_practices/

http://law.freeadvice.com/insurance_law/health_insurance/mega-life-bad-faith-attorney-interview.htm

http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/0/131/ripoff0131154.htm

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:

http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/0/131/RipOff0131154.htm#265025

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!!!!

Smart127
Cypress, Texas
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/19/2007 08:57 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/MEGA-Life-And-Health-NASE-HealthMarkets/North-Richland-Hills-Texas-76182-8010/MEGA-Life-And-Health-NASE-HealthMarkets-Deceptive-sales-pitch-selling-what-appears-to-293106. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report.

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#1 Consumer Suggestion

Watch Out For These Guys

AUTHOR: Tom - (U.S.A.)

These types of plans are ripoffs. They aren't health insurance.

They have caps on the important parts of coverage you need. The cancer coverage is awful and they mis-represent what it really is. Look at the cap on surgical expenses.... its like 5k bucks? What a joke.. Imagine if you needed heart surgery?

Mega Life, United America are not real health insurance.

sorry, allowing you to give a competitors name would instigate others to just file against their competition, to only come back later to suggest their company, ..plus, if you post a competitors name more than likely they will show up on search engines as a Rip-off! - - your comments on this policy are welcome. CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report. In this case we removed an alleged competitor's name

The guys help land me a Blue Cross policy that was really affordable and covered everything when my wife got diagnosed with cancer.
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#2 Consumer Comment

You are Smart

AUTHOR: Insurance Guy - (U.S.A.)

Smart - you have it right!! An HSA is absolutely the right way to go, but you may want to consider going with an individual HSA rather than the COBRA plan. You can get a rate that is based on a larger population than the company you used to be with.

Mega is an absolute rip-off, and though they have HSA's none of their agents are intelligent enough to sell them, and their managers discourange it as well. The problem is that they cannot compete when they pay commissions to an agent, a district manager, a division manager, and a regional manager. The average RM is making 1 - 3 million dollars a year in income. How can they be competitive with the other companies, where the agent can be direct to the company?

Back to your situation, I work nationwide as an agent with all of the major carriers and can make some suggestions.

CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.
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#3 Author of original report

Response to "Smokin"

AUTHOR: Smart127 - (U.S.A.)

Smokin - To quell your concerns, I won't likely by needing the COBRA coverage for the full 18 months anyway, so it's not a problem when it ends.

Also, it has been interesting shopping around for prescription medication using the HDHP. I'm keeping a spreadsheet of all our medication along with 7 different sources (CVS, Walgreen's, Costco, Target, etc.) and I'm giving my business to the store that has the lowest price.

An example would be the generic for Flonase (nasal allergy spray). Six of the seven are $59.99 or more for 30-day supply, with one at $86.00. The winner? Costco for $21.73. If everyone that used this drug was aware of the price differences and used the lowest priced supplier, I'm thinking that the other six would get a clue and try to compete better.

Too bad more Americans aren't on board with using free market forces to help bring down healthcare costs. I was one of the ones that accepted the $10/$25/$40 co-pay method and standard insurance plan's "management of care" at face value and never questioned them, but no more! I'm looking for cash discounts!

Finally, just so everyone knows, the $961.22 premium (after tax, of course) is not much higher than the $800 premium I was paying before tax while employed with the COBRA provider (former employer)! Now, since it's coming out after taxes, I can deduct every single dollar of it on my taxes, along with every single dollar that I put into the HSA account (up to $5,800 for 2008).

PS - It's HIPAA (two As)...
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#4 Author of original report

Response to "Smokin"

AUTHOR: Smart127 - (U.S.A.)

Smokin - To quell your concerns, I won't likely by needing the COBRA coverage for the full 18 months anyway, so it's not a problem when it ends.

Also, it has been interesting shopping around for prescription medication using the HDHP. I'm keeping a spreadsheet of all our medication along with 7 different sources (CVS, Walgreen's, Costco, Target, etc.) and I'm giving my business to the store that has the lowest price.

An example would be the generic for Flonase (nasal allergy spray). Six of the seven are $59.99 or more for 30-day supply, with one at $86.00. The winner? Costco for $21.73. If everyone that used this drug was aware of the price differences and used the lowest priced supplier, I'm thinking that the other six would get a clue and try to compete better.

Too bad more Americans aren't on board with using free market forces to help bring down healthcare costs. I was one of the ones that accepted the $10/$25/$40 co-pay method and standard insurance plan's "management of care" at face value and never questioned them, but no more! I'm looking for cash discounts!

Finally, just so everyone knows, the $961.22 premium (after tax, of course) is not much higher than the $800 premium I was paying before tax while employed with the COBRA provider (former employer)! Now, since it's coming out after taxes, I can deduct every single dollar of it on my taxes, along with every single dollar that I put into the HSA account (up to $5,800 for 2008).

PS - It's HIPAA (two As)...
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#5 Author of original report

Response to "Smokin"

AUTHOR: Smart127 - (U.S.A.)

Smokin - To quell your concerns, I won't likely by needing the COBRA coverage for the full 18 months anyway, so it's not a problem when it ends.

Also, it has been interesting shopping around for prescription medication using the HDHP. I'm keeping a spreadsheet of all our medication along with 7 different sources (CVS, Walgreen's, Costco, Target, etc.) and I'm giving my business to the store that has the lowest price.

An example would be the generic for Flonase (nasal allergy spray). Six of the seven are $59.99 or more for 30-day supply, with one at $86.00. The winner? Costco for $21.73. If everyone that used this drug was aware of the price differences and used the lowest priced supplier, I'm thinking that the other six would get a clue and try to compete better.

Too bad more Americans aren't on board with using free market forces to help bring down healthcare costs. I was one of the ones that accepted the $10/$25/$40 co-pay method and standard insurance plan's "management of care" at face value and never questioned them, but no more! I'm looking for cash discounts!

Finally, just so everyone knows, the $961.22 premium (after tax, of course) is not much higher than the $800 premium I was paying before tax while employed with the COBRA provider (former employer)! Now, since it's coming out after taxes, I can deduct every single dollar of it on my taxes, along with every single dollar that I put into the HSA account (up to $5,800 for 2008).

PS - It's HIPAA (two As)...
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#6 Author of original report

Response to "Smokin"

AUTHOR: Smart127 - (U.S.A.)

Smokin - To quell your concerns, I won't likely by needing the COBRA coverage for the full 18 months anyway, so it's not a problem when it ends.

Also, it has been interesting shopping around for prescription medication using the HDHP. I'm keeping a spreadsheet of all our medication along with 7 different sources (CVS, Walgreen's, Costco, Target, etc.) and I'm giving my business to the store that has the lowest price.

An example would be the generic for Flonase (nasal allergy spray). Six of the seven are $59.99 or more for 30-day supply, with one at $86.00. The winner? Costco for $21.73. If everyone that used this drug was aware of the price differences and used the lowest priced supplier, I'm thinking that the other six would get a clue and try to compete better.

Too bad more Americans aren't on board with using free market forces to help bring down healthcare costs. I was one of the ones that accepted the $10/$25/$40 co-pay method and standard insurance plan's "management of care" at face value and never questioned them, but no more! I'm looking for cash discounts!

Finally, just so everyone knows, the $961.22 premium (after tax, of course) is not much higher than the $800 premium I was paying before tax while employed with the COBRA provider (former employer)! Now, since it's coming out after taxes, I can deduct every single dollar of it on my taxes, along with every single dollar that I put into the HSA account (up to $5,800 for 2008).

PS - It's HIPAA (two As)...
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#7 Consumer Comment

cobra

AUTHOR: Smokin - (U.S.A.)

In the great state of TEXAS COBRA WILL end after 18 months of continued uninterrupted premiums. You must run the full 18 months to be HIPA eligible.
HIPA only protects you for the TEXAS state risk pool. TEXAS is not a guarantied
issued state. You must go through underwriting for any real insurance company.
All insurance companies have unfavorable remarks about them. But Cobra does run out and the customer is found to be non insurable and declined by everyone.
TEXAS risk pool is all you have. Or you could move to a state that will issue without
underwriting with rate ups and preexisting condition clauses. Americans are the most educated people in the world and understand unhappy ex employees
or competitors that come to site such as this to create doubt. They think its helping their sales. The hard truth is not everyone is approved. And when a client
cant make a decision to see if they even qualify for a plan. When they call to cancel you would think a person with $900 dollar premiums would have already known that they are going to be declined. Buy the way if I were to cancel a policy
i would do it in writing just to make sure that i didn't recieve coverage by mistake(you know the real legal way instead of phone) please re post how things turnout when COBRA ENDS.
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#8 Consumer Comment

cobra

AUTHOR: Smokin - (U.S.A.)

In the great state of TEXAS COBRA WILL end after 18 months of continued uninterrupted premiums. You must run the full 18 months to be HIPA eligible.
HIPA only protects you for the TEXAS state risk pool. TEXAS is not a guarantied
issued state. You must go through underwriting for any real insurance company.
All insurance companies have unfavorable remarks about them. But Cobra does run out and the customer is found to be non insurable and declined by everyone.
TEXAS risk pool is all you have. Or you could move to a state that will issue without
underwriting with rate ups and preexisting condition clauses. Americans are the most educated people in the world and understand unhappy ex employees
or competitors that come to site such as this to create doubt. They think its helping their sales. The hard truth is not everyone is approved. And when a client
cant make a decision to see if they even qualify for a plan. When they call to cancel you would think a person with $900 dollar premiums would have already known that they are going to be declined. Buy the way if I were to cancel a policy
i would do it in writing just to make sure that i didn't recieve coverage by mistake(you know the real legal way instead of phone) please re post how things turnout when COBRA ENDS.
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#9 Consumer Comment

cobra

AUTHOR: Smokin - (U.S.A.)

In the great state of TEXAS COBRA WILL end after 18 months of continued uninterrupted premiums. You must run the full 18 months to be HIPA eligible.
HIPA only protects you for the TEXAS state risk pool. TEXAS is not a guarantied
issued state. You must go through underwriting for any real insurance company.
All insurance companies have unfavorable remarks about them. But Cobra does run out and the customer is found to be non insurable and declined by everyone.
TEXAS risk pool is all you have. Or you could move to a state that will issue without
underwriting with rate ups and preexisting condition clauses. Americans are the most educated people in the world and understand unhappy ex employees
or competitors that come to site such as this to create doubt. They think its helping their sales. The hard truth is not everyone is approved. And when a client
cant make a decision to see if they even qualify for a plan. When they call to cancel you would think a person with $900 dollar premiums would have already known that they are going to be declined. Buy the way if I were to cancel a policy
i would do it in writing just to make sure that i didn't recieve coverage by mistake(you know the real legal way instead of phone) please re post how things turnout when COBRA ENDS.
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