Maternity Medical Insurance Rip-Off

April 22, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A warning about a medical discount card that promises to save un-insured pregnant women thousands of dollars.A company called Affordable Health Care Options direct sells insurance cards on the internet. So far, dozens of un-insured pregnant women have bought into the plan that authorities say is anything but a labor of love.

For pregnant women with no health insurance, this website, maternitycard.com, seems to be the answer. The company, A.H.C.O., or Affordable Health Care Options, promises if your doctor or hospital takes the card you will save 60% percent on your expenses.

Desperate with an unplanned pregnancy Clovis native Ashley Donlinger paid $199 dollars for the card and agreed to make monthly payments. "I went on the website and I kind of read all the terms and conditions and it seemed pretty legitimate, as it was legitimate in California," said Donlinger.

Ashley said the examples convinced her. For instance a $23,000 dollar hospital bill would cost less than $5,000 with the maternity card. A nearly $19,000 dollar bill, just around $3,400.

But when St. Agnes refused to take the card, and she couldn't cancel, Ashley believes the added pressure caused her to lose her baby. "I signed up for the card on February 20th, and I tried to cancel on the 22nd, I miscarried on the 7th of March. This whole time in between there is when I was stressing out and trying to cancel."

Despite maternitycards.com's guarantee that you will save at least the cost of your membership or they'll pay the difference, Ashley paid $500 dollars and got just $25 back.

And the Texas Attorney General is suing A.H.C.O. saying it's charging high fees, but is not delivering. Yet you can still buy the cards on maternitycard.com and a website called pregnancyinsurance.org.

"Anybody can put up a website and keep it up for as long as they want. There's no requirement unless the Texas Attorney General ordered them to take it down, they can keep it up as long as they want," said Doug Broten with the Better Business Bureau.

So far, more than 140 women have filed complaints saying health care providers would not accept these cards, even though the company said there were providers in their area.

Action News could not reach Texas-based Affordable Healthcare Options for comment.


Load Comments