A new state law is cracking down on companies that take advantage of uninsured people.
Medical discount cards have created quite a bit of confusion. Some of the companies imply they offer insurance when they dont.
Amanda Duncan was paying about $100 a month to a group she thought was offering insurance, Call 6's Rafael Sanchez reported.
The family wound up $15,000 in debt after the birth of her child.
Duncan thought she was covered a group called International Association of Benefits, or IAB. The company told Call 6 that Duncan dropped the program before it could help, but the Duncan family disagrees.
"We were definitely taken advantage of. I can't believe 'til this day we fell for it," Dan Duncan said.
After a Call 6 story in February
, IAB refunded the Duncans' monthly payment, worth $700.
Beginning July 1, medical discount programs must register with the Department of Insurance, and that will greatly limit what those programs can claim in their ads. They must also label their cards with a disclaimer that says, "This is not insurance."
Carol Cutter, of the Department of Insurance, said companies can no longer use words that sound like insurance.
The new law might also bring to an end the faxes that come into workplaces with offers of health coverage.
The companies see fertile ground in Indiana because more than 500,000 Hoosiers have no health insurance.
Officials stress that some health discount programs are valid, with some caveats.
"If it's a discount card, it doesn't mean it is going to work in every doctor's office in the state of Indiana. It may only apply to a few doctors," said Carol Mihalik, of the state's Insurance Consumer Protection unit.
Insurance experts said consumers should call and confirm that their healthcare providers honor a discount program.
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