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Senior Citizen's Guide to Baltimore

What Consumers Need to Know
About Discount Medical and Discount Drug Plans

In Maryland, there are two basic types of discount plans available: Discount Medical Plans and Discount Drug Plans. These plans may be structured to look like insurance, but they are not insurance and don't pay any of your health care costs. Instead, discount plans give plan members access to a group of providers of health care services and supplies on a discounted basis.

Discount Plans: Are They Right For You?

Before you become a member of a Discount Medical Plan or Discount Drug Plan, it is important to understand how the plans work and how they can be used. You also need to understand exactly how much money a discount plan will save you and how much it will cost to join.

What Is A Discount Plan

Discount plans can be beneficial to consumers looking to save money on health care costs. These plans offer savings to plan members on various health care goods and services such as prescription drugs, doctor visits, eye glasses, vision care, dental services and lab tests through arrangements between health care providers and the organization offering the discount plan.

How Discount Plans Work

Discount Medical Plans contract directly or indirectly with health care providers or provider networks to provide medical services at a discount to plan members. Similarly, Discount Drug Plans contract with providers or networks to provide pharmaceutical supplies, prescription drugs, medical equipment and other supplies at a discount to members.

Each discount plan must provide a plan member or plan member's family a discount card. Members present the card to their providers to receive discounted services, supplies, drugs and related care. The discount card includes:

A discount medical plan organization or a discount drug plan organization is required to notify a plan member when there is a material change in plan benefits or the information contained on the card. If the information on the discount card changes, the discount medical plan or the discount drug plan must reissue the discount card(s).

What You Should Know About Discount Plans

Discount plans are NOT health insurance. Therefore, some of the protections that you receive when changing health insurance companies do not apply.

Discount plans may not:

If you question whether something is a discount plan or an insurance plan, and whether the discount plan is properly registered with the State, contact the Maryland Insurance Administration at 800-492-6116.

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