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Direct Med / leads you to believe they are insurance

Internet, United States Review updated:
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I am about to graduate from college and desperate for health insurance and a job and was browsing online for insurance options. I received a call within 10 minutes after entering my info with US Health Benefits Group who says they are associated with eHealthInsurance, which is a reputable company so I took the call.

The agent told me I was buying a discount and I quote "insured benefit plan". He said I would be covered for primary care physicians, specialists, and prescriptions for copays of $20, that it was the same as a PPO plan, and that I would get this all for $124. a month plus a $135. signup fee. In my desperation for some type of affordable coverage I gave them my credit card number, social security number, address and phone information, as well as my driver's license number. I then received a confirmation email with temporary cards stating THIS IS NOT HEALTH INSURANCE AND IN NO WAY A SUBSTITUTE FOR HEALTH INSURANCE, which is when I realized my naivety and looked them up online.

I called the next day to talk to the agent who sold me the plan, who basically panicked and handed the phone over to his supervisor when I said I looked it up and no one accepts their card. I then had to call Direct Med directly and go through them to cancel, and after they too panicked that I had called them out on their scam, they played me back a tape-recording of my conversation the night before with a customer service rep stating that I did understand what I was buying.

The words "discount and insured benefit plan" sounded to me, and are probably designed to sound to the average person like 'health insurance plan', which is what I was led to believe I was buying.

They did refund part of my money, but I still lost the membership sign-up fee of $135.00.

Long story short, DirectMed is selling a bait-and-switch scam and preys on people desperate for affordable healthcare—those who can least afford to lose the money they are swindled out of in the first place.
Je
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Ri
  29th of Jan, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I have not yet bought into this "plan". Because of the "THIS IS NOT HEALTH INSURANCE AND IN NO WAY A SUBSTITUTE FOR HEALTH INSURANCE" disclaimer on the website. Plus, the family premium quoted for a 62-year old male with mild hypertension and a 62-year old female seem too good to be true.

I am still researching. I can find no reports with the Better Business Bureau.

Insurance is what I need.
Li
  9th of Feb, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
i agree with the everyone, about direct med. they are a scam. i tried to use this dicount program with 3 differnt dr that is on thier list. no one and i dont mean no one would take it. thier own list of dr's.
not only am i out over $2, 000. in trying to use this some called discount, i still have to pay out of my own pocket.

i am reporting to the better business plus i am sueing them.

if i was any one of you i would do the same.
Na
  9th of Apr, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I received a call after looking into health insurance, and was talked into signing up much like the first account up there. When I called out the representative I was talking to by saying "this seems a bit too good to be true, how can you all afford to do this?" he explained that they usually only worked with major coorporations, and that they were doing an open call to help out students and recent graduates, and that I had only today to decide if I was going to sign up or not. Stressed by the sense of urgency, and desperate for some medical coverage I gave over my bank information, and he transferred me over to a recruitment representative, and told me that she did no specify in directmed, so not to ask her any questions. When I got transferred, the woman told me she was going to be recording the conversation, so I unwillingly entered into a verbal contract, where she asked me if I understood that this was NOT health insurance but a benefit plan. I was a bit thrown, but since I assumed that the benefit plan still included every thing that the representative had told me earlier (doctor visits with a 20$ copay, ER visits with $100 deductable) and wasn't sure as to whether they had already taken my money or not, I went along with it.

I got my information package with my 'card' about a week later, and was definately weary of the whole thing, since I couldn't find anything in it confirming what I had been told on the phone. Literally a day later (before I had taken care of the insurance) I got appendecitis. At 6:30 am, I called the nurse hotline that came with Directmed, and described my symptoms, and she told me to go to an emergency room IMMEDIATELY. I then looked up hospitals on the directmed website and found one in my area, and then called them and asked if they accepted DirectMed. They told me they didn't recognize the name but that the accepted all major health insurance. I tried to explain that it wasn't health insurance but they didn't really know what to say. I then called DirectMed Customer Service, but being 6:30am eastern time they were not open, and were not going to be open for another 3 hours.
So (in lots of pain) I took the train to the hospital and had an ultra sound, pelvic exam and cat scan on top of an expensive surgery.

I graduated college in may of last year, and am only a waitress. So I have no way of being able to pay the bill (that I have not yet got), especially since I can't return to work for a month after the surgery.
When trying to work things out with directmed they just dicked me around, and kept transferring me to other places, until they told me that the hospital I went to was not a participating one, and that there is a disclaimer some where on the site that tells me that I have to call customer servise if I want an up to date hospital list. When I explained my perdiciment, they showed no pity, and kept repeating that the hospital wasn't a participating one, so there was nothing I could do.
Obviously I was suprprised that they didn't bring up the fact that I don't have coverage for ER visits, since after reading up on them, I know that they can't offer that. But they just skirted the issue by blaming the hospital.
Sorry, I know this a very long account, but I just don't want people out there to go through this, find out that they are not covered and then not do anything about it or just settle. Don't think that direct med is better than nothing, since really they can't do anything, and you are throwing a substantial amount of money away every month. I couldn't have predicted that I would have a financially crippling surgery, and I am pretty sure that usually people don't see this coming. Word of advice, get covered and protect yourself, and if any one of you have any words of advice for me and my situation, then I would trully apperciate them.
Jo
  2nd of Jun, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Directmeds is nothing but a huge scam. Don't belive a word that they say they are just telling you everything you want to hear so they can get their non-refundable $250. They told me that my medication would be $20 every two weeks witch i normally pay $160 every two weeks when i get my perscription fill, well thats ### i went to the pharmacy and they told me my perscription (SUBOXONE) was a 4th teir drug, when on the phone with directmeds the asured me over and over again the my medicine was a 2nd or 3rd teir drug witch costs $20 dallors and if not 20 then no more than 40 dallors. My best advice is to stay away from these people, if the call you hang up or they will talk you into it. It is all to good to be true just remember that. Good luck
Sa
  25th of Jun, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
This is is exactly what happened to me, They got me on the phone today. They told me the exact same thing even said they only had one slot available to get me enrolled by July first in my area ( (god I'm stupid duh)) but I am so desperate for health insurance and got suckered into this scam. They made me believe they are a "insurance company" they even threw names in like Blue Shield Blue Shield and Humana that they are like that I also was thrown by their clever wording ( damn they are good in scamming) They told me I would receive my temporary discount cards in an e-mail and after I looked at it later this evening it states on the bottom " this is not insurance" Of course I panicked and started to do some research and came across this board and similar ones with complaints about" Direct Med"
I immediately called my credit card company and I was lucky because the transaction was still pending and could have it removed. I put a block a card on my card also, just in-case they try to run it through again.
In the morning I will actually do some footwork and talk to talk to a legitimate insurance agent in person in my area what my options are.
Good luck to everyone -
Ha
  10th of Jul, 2009
Agree Disagree -1 Votes
this same scam happen to me. i needed to have a surgery that my own insurance would not cover. so i was looking on line to try and find me some insurance. ehealth insurance quotes called me back within minutes. this so called insurance agent got on line and was telling me all about this great plan he had and was saying you need to sign up today in order to enroll in it and get it for the price of 124.oo per month. and also a 135.00 registration fee which is a one time fee and that this plan was on a month to month basis you could cancel at anytime with no penalty. and he said that i did not need my health insurance from work any longer cause this would cover from here on out.. ok and he also said that if i wanted to keep my own insurance and just use this one for the surgery. i was a little leary of this cause it was not deductibles except the 100.00n to the er if you had to go. this was just to damn good to b true. this police also came with a 10, 000.00 accident policey, 50/50 to dentist, 45%paid to vision, 70% to all cosmetic surgery and also to drs and hospitals, 10.00 to generic meds and 20.00 to brand. oh yes did this sound good, so i started really considering it and doing some research on it. they also said us life was the underwriters for this company. well us life sells life insurance only... luckily as i done research on this i come to find that they almost by a hair scammed me. these people play on people with needing insurance... for you who r considering it please please do not listen to them or you will be wasting your money the drs are not in the network and they have never heard of this particular benefit discount card... please be aware of what you getting into with this company...
Qu
  29th of Jul, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
For all of you poor recently-graduated-from-college people out there like myself, do not get suckered into this program.

While eHealthInsurance assures that they are indeed a legitimate health insurance company, Direct Med is anything but such a service.

Their card even shouts this at you in bold caps once you receive it:
"THIS IS NOT INSURANCE"

No kidding?

My general practitioner does not accept their so-called "coverage" and neither does my behavioral health doctor. The medication "list" they send you does not include several popular mental health medications that most of the "depressed" community uses. None of my medications are on their lists. I have been paying full price for absolutely everything—including my visits to my doctor. I shouldn't have to.

Do not fall prey to them as I did. Be wary and patient when choosing a new Health Insurance. Go with the big names that you recognize, because despite the fact that it looks like they cost more, they are far safer.
Ja
  29th of Jul, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
GARBAGE!!! U MIGHT AS WELL THROW UR MONEY IN THE GARBAGE!! THIS IS A SCAM AND I WAS A PHARMACEUTICAL REP, SO THINK HOW DUMB I FEEL. LYNDA AND HER MANAGER MIKE ASSURED ME THAT THIS WAS NOT A RE-CURRING PAYMENT BUT SURE ENOUGH MY MONEY IS GONE ON THE EXACT DAY AS I SIGNED UP FOR THIS GARBAGE LAST MONTH. NO PHYSICIAN TAKES THE PLAN AND FILLING SCRIPTS IS LESS EXPENSIVE IF UR A CASH PAY CUSTOMER. I AM LIVID!!! IN THIS ECONOMY A COMPANY PRETENDING TO BE INSURANCE WITH SO MANY PEOPLE OUT OF WORK AND BROKE. I AM CLOSING MY CARD TOMORROW I DO NOT TRUST THESE PEOPLE WHO NOW HAVE ALL OF MY INFORMATION. I KNEW SOMETHING WAS FAKE WHEN I NEVER RECEIVED HARD CARDS, ONLY AN E-MAIL WITH AN ID CARD, MY NAME MISPELLED, WHAT A JOKE. I WILL BE CALLING THE BBB TOMORROW AS WELL. COMPANIES SUCH AS THIS FRAUDULENT HEALTH COVERAGE SHOULD BE SHUT DOWN IMMEDIATELY BEFORE THEY MAKE MORE PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE PAYING FOR INSURANCE AND THEY RECEIVE NOTHING BUT A DEBIT TO THEIR ACCOUNT. LYNDA & MIKE I HOPE U HAD A GOOD TIME WITH MY COMMISSION MONEY BECAUSE YOU'LL NEVER SEE IT AGAIN. DISGUSTING SCAM!!! DO NOT BE THE NEXT VICTIM.
JACKIE
He
  10th of Aug, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
yes, definitely FIGHT this "company!" they called me today, i had no recollection of the company during my insurance research online but i was out of the house and a bit distracted. totally fell for this scam and gave them my credit card and social security info. i got home later tonight, researched said "company" and immediately called my credit card company to close my account and report fraud. DEFINITELY give yr credit card company a call and let them know that you do not accept these charges!! what direct med is doing is FRAUD and we are not responsible for paying for anything, not even the "nonrefundable" membership fee. i'm also filing a complaint with social security since they have my number and i'm concerned they'll try to misuse that as well. beware of this sham and if you've already signed up, it's worth it to dispute the charges and report them as the absolute frauds they are.
Ru
  3rd of Sep, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
i joined the directmed too. i called for the physicians in the area and they told me the computer was down and call back! i am getting out of this, i work in walmart and they don't pay good!
Le
  13th of Oct, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
omg! i just joined direct med then google to find about them and found this complaint instead...
i'm gonna cancel first thing tomorrow!!!
Li
  16th of Nov, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
from reading all this stuff i don't know what do my ex is going to kill me i brought this crap to the table and i should know better than this i just hope we can put a stop to it before it goes through
Jo
  23rd of Nov, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
these jerks just called me.
i was so confused, didn't understand how they got my info, so assumed its the same company, and part of the anthem approval procedure.
confused a bit as to why its not an anthem specialist...
i was actually entertaining the thought of approving, since again, i assumed it was related to the application i signed up for with anthem.

i picked her brains abit, and the lady wasnt professional at all. she sounded like she was eating on the phone.

luckily i got some sense and said its too good to be true, and why is a differnent company calling me.
i told her ill call her back.
beware. this ### has to be a scam. the 135 one time fee is what made me weary in addition to the other suspicions.
Er
  13th of Dec, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
### that they let low lifes like this get away with this ###. he told me that this was better then health insurance. this this is useless this dont cover ###.the only thing this covers is the inside of threr pockets with our money. they need to shut deown this scam and the low lifes that work at directmed this is a scam scam do not fall for this scam scam !!! eric ohio
Ps
  20th of Dec, 2010
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I too got screwed bi Direct Med. I cancelled after about 6 months because during that short time, I noticed the "Service Administrator" changed twice, with the third one showing on my bank statement as being in Beirut Lebanon. That's when I knew they were a fraud. I bought their insurance after my Cal-Cobra expired. They never represented this as a substitute for major medical insurance, just a plan that has worked with providers for "discounts" off their regular charges. They don't actually pay out anything to providers. The main purpose of this plan seems to be for things like motel discounts, rental car discounts, etc... I checked online for my doctor, local hospital, and local labs. Every one was listed. Well, my doctor did take the card because it was Beech Street network, but office visits were $10 more that he charges if you have no insurance. In Feb 2010, I was hospitalized for 8 days. The local hospital wouldn't use this coverage, partly because they already give local residents a discount larger than with Direct Med. I am also unemployed, and that qualified me for a charity that paid my hospital bill. I was supposed to get a blood test every 2 weeks after that. I called Direct Med for labs in my area, and was told that there were none within 30 miles of me, even though they were listed when I first enrolled, and I live in a city with a large regional hospital and big medical support community.

My biggest problem with them is the supplemental insurance. That is where they pay you for covered body part losses, certain surgical procedures, and hospital stays. I am supposed to get $500/day for 7 of the 8 days I was in the hospital. This policy is like the AFLAC policy you see on TV (except AFLAC actually pays out benefits). After a month of trying to get a claim form from Direct Med, I finally called the US Life Insurance company (actually it is American General, part of the AIG group that got a federal bailout and gave their execs multi-million dollar bonuses and outings) and they sent me a claim form. I filled it out with the authorizations to release my hospital and doctor records to them for review. So I don't hear from them for a month and I call. They say they need more info and send me a letter saying they need all my pharmacy and doctor records for the 12 prior to my hospitalization. So I send them the info with signed authorizations. After a month or so, no word. I call, they say that they are still waiting for the 4 provider to send info. Well, I called the 3 pharmacies and 1 doctor, and they ALL said they never received any request. Ok, I called Am General back and talked to a supervisor. She asked me to get fax numbers for the providers and she would fax the requests to them. I faxed her the info and checked a couple weeks later with the providers, and AGAIN, all 4 said they got any request. So I contacted all 4 and got the records myself and FedEx'd them to the supervisor and they received it in early October. On Friday 12/7/10, I called to check status and was told that they have the info and he would EXPEDITE the claim through the review board. Well, no word again. I called again on 12/17/2010 and spoke again to a "supervisor", although not the one from before (how many supervisors do they need?). She said I delayed in getting this additional info to them and it only arrived in early Dec. I have the FedEx tracking info saying they received it on Oct 11th. So I am now sitting here with no job, no insurance, high medical maintenance costs I can't afford, so I don't get the treatments I need. At the end of the month I will be homeless (or check out completely) because these jerks can't get my claim steeled in time.

My advice: DO NOT GET ANY OF THESE SO-CALLED DISCOUNT MEDICAL PLANS. DON'T DEAL WITH DIRECT-MED. DON'T DEAL WITH AMERICAN GENERAL, UNITED STATES LIFE, OR ANY AIG COMPANY. YOU WILL GET SCREWED

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