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November 13, 2017

It’s Open Season on Befuddled Health Plan Shoppers

Filed under: Health — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:17 am

Once again it is open enrollment time for those choosing a new health insurance plan. In searching around for a new plan for MrConsumer’s friend in New York City, he came up with what looked like a dream plan — a new national plan that tapped into Cigna’s national network of 500,000 providers. (Most individual plans in New York have very limited networks except for Empire Blue — and even Empire is not all-inclusive.)

The plan is from MVP Health Care called “Platinum National Embedded.” It is considered a non-standard plan and therefore is “off-market” — not on the New York “Obamacare” health exchange — and is sold individually directly by the company.

A handy map shows which counties in the New York City region are covered:

MVP  map 1

A quick look makes it appear that all five boroughs of New York City are covered as well as two northern counties. When using MVP’s online plan lookup feature, entering my friend’s Manhattan zip code kept triggering an error. How could that be?


MVP plan map

A closer look at the fine print asterisked footnote reveals that MVP is not licensed to sell these plans in any of the five boroughs of New York City, despite them being listed above as “included.”

We asked the company why it used such misleading representations and whether it would fix the distortions. They have yet to respond.

Finding the right health plan is hard enough without shenanigans like this.

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  1. Based on the “fine print” in the image, the company is just stating which counties exist in the new york city region.

    If you want a map depicting which counties the company covers in its health plan, that’s different.

    Edgar replies: I know whenever I want a geography lesson, I always go to MVP health plan’s website .

    Comment by Wayne — November 13, 2017 @ 11:43 am
  2. Wasn’t the end of open enrollment November 20th?

    Edgar replies: Open enrollment for Medicare ends December 7. Open enrollment for non-Medicare plans varies by state and typically goes until at least the end of December.

    Comment by Ruth — November 14, 2017 @ 9:55 pm
  3. i am having a horrible time. My plan was discontinued and talking to the sales’ representatives are terrible. They will not tell you all the options you have. Harvard/ pilgrim local had the worst customer service. Blue Cross does not have all plans listed on the their website and it is like the sales dept. is doing you a favor by telling you about plans. Buying good health insurance can be the difference between life and death. The costs this year are prohibitive too. Your yearly out of pocket costs and premium payments end up costing more than a small car purchase. I could use some help this year.

    Comment by Nancy Sing — November 20, 2017 @ 8:40 am

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