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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

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Mid-West National Life

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: What do you know about Mid-West National Life Insurance?

A: They are primarily known for their aggressive and possibly deceptive marketing of low priced group health insurance to self-employed people. You may have seen the flyers in grocery stores and posted roadside telephone booths that say "affordable health insurance". The product may be called "Freedom Plan" and insurance may be offered through the "National Association of Self-Employed" (NASE) and the "Alliance for Affordable Services". The company is somehow affiliated with Mega Life, although the details of the affiliation are not clear. While the actual insurance is legitimate, buyers do not understand that it is limited coverage type insurance and not major medical insurance. It is the marketing and lack of clear disclosure that is the problem, not the insurance itself. Policies are sold by commission-driven agents who are motivated to sell policies, not to educate buyers of spend time disclosing the limitations. Agents are not solely to blame. Consumers play a role in their own demise. Apparently many self-employed individuals do not know that commercial major medical insurance cannot be purchased as a member of a business association and so it is easy for marketers to use vague language that sidesteps the important issues. When a customer goes to use the insurance, for example to pay for a doctor's visit, they learn after the fact that what they bought is not what was expected. Buyers tend to hear what they want to hear at the time of purchase and often do not bother to read the policy or apply "common sense" when buying health insurance. Otherwise they would realize the simple facts that the deal they perceive is "too good to be true" and that insurance is priced lower simply because it covers less. There is nothing wrong with limited benefit health insurance as long as the marketing emphasis is on educating and disclosing these limitations to buyers. Clearly this company does not do that. As a result, the insurance company is not treated favorably in consumer publications. One agent wrote "Mid West is the same company and plan design as Mega Life.....known as National Assoc of Self Emp. Sorry plans." Some state insurance departments have apparently taken actions to censure the company or control its marketing. The Colorado Insurance Department published the details of a settlement reached with the company where there is no admission of wrong-doing, but the company agreed to change its advertising and marketing procedures.


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