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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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Vantage America problem

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posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date.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

Q: I have been contacted by "Vantage America" regarding a plan which exists only for pre-existing medical conditions. I was quoted information that seemed too good to be true. I was told that this plan comes from a "non-profit organization" funded through government sources. 80/20% Dr. visits; No cancellation; PPO plan - no restriction on providers; $139.95 per month for two people; dental; 10/20/40 prescription card, etc. Is this health insurance a health discount plan or what? I cannot find this spelled out on the or Vantage America site and am skeptical but am currently paying $22K/yr. for HMO. There's absolutely no information about this particular plan on-line, or if there is, it is so buried in some other site that I cannot find it.

A: There is no mystery here. Vantage America clearly advertises as a discount plan and is not health insurance. The company's Web site is straightforward about this disclosure but the verbal information you received is probably from a commission-motivated marketer and does not come close to reality. It seems that the statements made by the marketer violate the sales practice laws for discount health plans in most states. See the article "Comparing Discount Health Plans" and other articles on this site about the regulation of discount health plans or more information. The confusion stems from the fact that this discount plan is so grossly overpriced that is approached the range of price of an insurance policy! The high price is due to the fat commission structure and not attributable to the benefits provided. In reality, it offers the same benefits as a discount plan like the reputable PHCS network plans at that are offered without a sales agent at a fraction of this price. Of course, there is no comparison between a discount plan and an HMO in terms of protection from medical bills.


More resources: article: "Comparing Discount Health Plans"