Telemarketing scams are no bargain

Would you buy a car from someone over the phone without seeing it, no matter how cheap it may be?

Probably not. And that's not how you should buy "bargain" health insurance plans, either.

We've had reports from our members about telemarketers that claim to be affiliated with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The callers try to sell additional insurance coverage at greatly discounted rates.

We don't ever work with companies that operate in this way. Here are more tips for how to know if that phone call is phony.

  • Proceed with caution. If you receive an offer for a medical discount plan, investigate the details before making a decision. Pay special attention to the refund policy.
  • Ask for a list of doctors who participate in the plan. It could be a red flag if you don't get this promptly.
  • If your doctor or dentist doesn't participate in the plan they're trying to sell, call other doctors in your area. See if they accept the plan and will give you the discount it promises.
  • Never give out personal information (bank account, credit card and Social Security numbers, etc.) unless you know who's on the other end of the phone.
  • Do the math. Your total payments for a discount plan may not add up the way you think.
  • Research the company selling the plan. Ask for a website where you can get more information. Call your local consumer protection office, state attorney general, or Better Business Bureau to see if other consumers have filed complaints.

Tip: You can ask telemarketers to put your name on the "Do not call" list. If they don't, they could be violating the law.