Attorney General’s Office and Division of Insurance Promote New Health Discount Plan Law
(PIERRE, SD) – The South Dakota Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Revenue and Regulation, Division of Insurance say a new law that goes into effect next week to regulate health discount plans will offer further protection to South Dakotans.
Beginning July 1, 2005, entities that provide discounts on healthcare goods and services are required to register with the Division of Insurance before doing business in South Dakota. According to Attorney General Larry Long and Division of Insurance Director Gary Steuck, the new law not only provides stronger regulation of companies offering such discounts but also gives consumers a level of protection not currently available.
“The new law is a big step towards regulating these discount health care companies”, said Long. “The discount health care industry is rife with fraud, so it is important to verify the legitimacy of each company with the Division of Insurance prior to doing business. Before buying any discount health care plan, consumers should check with their health care providers and pharmacies to make sure that the discount plan being offered is a good deal.”
“In addition to registering with the Division, these entities must clearly disclose the costs and limits of their products to consumers, provide of list of providers that have agreed to the advertised discount, and also provide the consumer with 30 days to decide if they want the product,” Steuck added.
Consumers who are considering purchasing a discount plan should first verify the business offering the discount plan is registered with the Division of Insurance. The provider list should also be reviewed to ensure area providers will accept the discount plan. Discount plans are not insurance and no insurance benefits should be offered to the consumer except through a licensed insurance agent.
To verify an entity is registered or a person offering insurance benefits is licensed to sell insurance, contact the Division of Insurance by phone at 605.773.3563, by email at email@example.com, or visit their website at www.state.sd.us/drr2/reg/insurance. Consumers having questions or problems regarding health discount plans or insurance matters in general are encouraged to contact the Division of Insurance for assistance.