A visitor asked if Ameriplan is a pyramid scheme. I think because multi-level marketing companies are organized like a pyramid, many people think they are. However, the litmus test or a pyramid scheme is not its shape, it’s how it makes money.
Is Ameriplan a Pyramid Scheme? Ameriplan is a Discount Medical Plans Organization that promotes its membership through multi-level marketing. It is NOT a pyramid scheme. Ameriplan helps its members get discounts on medical services and prescriptions and it sells its memberships through independent distributors.
In this article, I explain why Ameriplan is not a pyramid scheme. I’ll also show you what a pyramid scheme is as defined by the Federal Trade Commission. Furthermore, I discuss the Ameriplan business opportunity and show you how you can determine if it is right for you.
First, let’s clearly understand what Ameriplan is.
What Ameriplan Is.
Ameriplan claims to help people save money on medical and dental services, including chiropractic, vision, and prescriptions. It is NOT insurance.
Ameriplan is a Discount Medical Plans Organization that helps members save money when using the services of medical, dental, vision, chiropractic or pharmaceutical providers. Ameriplan sells its memberships through multi-level marketing and that may be why some people suspect it is a pyramid scheme. It’s not.
Before we go too far down the Ameriplan rabbit hole, it is essential to understand that Ameriplan does not sell insurance of any kind. It is not an insurance brokerage. It might be easy to mistake Ameriplan for insurance because it claims to help you save money with medical and dental services. As a member of Ameriplan, you have access to discounts on some medical services.
If you purchase an Americplan membership, you will probably still need medical and dental insurance. Under no circumstances should you cancel your health insurance and expect Ameriplan to cover your medical expenses.
What is a Pyramid Scheme?
A pyramid scheme is illegal in most countries because it offers nothing of value and ultimately damages people’s lives and the economy.
In its purest form, a pyramid scheme does not offer a product. All it has is a so-called business opportunity. To join the opportunity, you pay money to the person who recruited you into the organization. They keep a portion of the money you paid and send the rest of the money to the top of the person at the top of the pyramid.
Once you join, you can then make money recruiting people into the organization.
Two things to remember about pyramid schemes, according to the FTC, they do not have a product and they are dependent on recruiting. People can only make money with pyramid schemes by recruiting new people. That is not the case with AmeriPlan and that is why I say it is not a pyramid scheme.
However, just because AmeriPlan is not a pyramid scheme doesn’t mean it is a reputable company. In my opinion, it is not.
According to the AmeriPlan website, AmeriPlanUSA.com, there are two membership levels. Each membership is a monthly subscription-based savings plan.
Dental Plus (Cost $24.95 per month, per household) – Savings on Dental, Prescription, Dental, Hearing & Chiropractic services.
Deluxe Plus (Cost $39.95 per month, per household) – Combines Dental Plus plan and MED Plus plan and additional non-medical discounts advantages. MED Plus includes Hospital Advocacy* and Ancillary Care.**
*Hospital Advocacy assigns a professional bill negotiator your medical bills. For example, if your medical bill is over $1,500, a professional bill negotiator will work to lower the total amount you owe.
**Ancillary Care offers discounts on some ancillary services such as imaging services, lab services and LASIK surgery.
The $64,000 question is whether a member will save more than they spend on membership fees each year. The savings compared to the cost is not clear.
Before an informed decision is possible, it must first be determined if a member will save more than they spend. There is no way to know until after you’ve been a member for some time. In other words, you have to put your money on the table and roll the dice before you know if you’ve made the proper decision.
That’s a lousy way to try to save money.
Not Such a Good Deal.
In an attempt to determine if the AmeriPlan discounts are real or just hype, I compared the AmeriPlan cost for TeleMedicine with a similar service I found online.
The AmeriPlan Deluxe Plan Plus, which costs $39.95 per month per household, gives a member phone access to a health professional 24/7. However, in addition to the monthly membership fee, when you call a doctor via the AmeriPlan TeleMedicine phone line, you will be billed $25 per call.
The AmeriPlan telemedicine service is MORE expensive than a similar service I found online which cost less than $15 per call (healthedeals.com).
The AmeriPlan Business Opportunity.
AmeriPlan calls its independent distributors “Benefit Consultants.” I feel the term Benefit Consultant is misleading and suggests that the AmeriPlan member is receiving benefits comparable to job benefits. They are not.
An AmeriPlan member is mostly getting a discount on services. However, this discount may not be as substantial as it first appears.
These details are important to remember if you are considering the AmeriPlan business opportunity because if members are not getting their money’s worth, they will cancel their membership. Indeed, according to some online complaints, this appears to be happening on a large scale.
The AmeriPlan website claims that it has paid its Benefit Consultants millions of dollars in commissions, overrides and bonuses since launching in 1992. Furthermore, they are proud to proclaim themselves a business built on saving money and making money.
It goes on to claim their business opportunity is one of the nations “finest home-based business models” that offers a unique opportunity for people to pursue “time, lifestyle and financial freedom.”
Although, AmeriPlan makes some interesting claims about the money they have paid their Benefit Consultants, I found no information on the AmeriPlan website about how much money the average consultant earns. This lack of transparency makes me think the average AmeriPlan consultant does not make much money, otherwise AmeriPlan would show those figures.
Because AmeriPlan does not show the average earnings for a Benefit Consultant, it is safe to assume that it is consistent with the Multi-Level Marketing Industry. In other words, the average earnings for an AmeriPlan Benefit Consultant is dismal.
Dr. Jon Taylor conducted extensive research on how much most people make when they join an MLM organization. The FTC published the results of Taylor’s research on their website.
After studying over 300 MLM companies and participating in one of the largest MLM companies in North America, Dr. Taylor determined that less than 1% of the people who attempt to make money with MLM earn more than they spend!
Because AmeriPlan does not share how much their Benefit Consultants earn, I can only imagine it’s about the same the industry average. As per Taylor’s research, less than 1% break even.
AmeriPlan is Not Available Everywhere.
AmeriPlan is only available in the United States, but not in every state.
Before purchasing a membership or becoming a Benefit Consultant, first search the AmeriPlan database for service providers in your area. When I searched for service providers in my area, I was not impressed.
To see if there are service providers in your area, check here.
AmeriPlan Lawsuits & Complaints.
A simple online search will reveal several lawsuits and complaints against AmeriPlan.
One lawyer, Stephen Foster, represented several former AmeriPlan Benefit Consultants who were denied their commissions by the company. (stephenfosterlaw.com)
Also, the State of Montana sued AmeriPlan claiming it was a pyramid scheme because it was selling memberships in the state when there were no medical providers available. AmeriPlan paid a $200,000 to settle that lawsuit.
In 2010, a Dallas Court ruled against AmeriPlan to award a former Benefit Consultant $5.5 million in damages for wrongful termination. Former Benefit Consultant Anthony Anderson had spent nine years of his life and built a sizable sales organization earning substantial recurring income when AmeriPlan terminated his contract, in effect, stealing his residuals.
In my opinion, the fact that AmeriPlan would steal the residuals of one of their most successful Benefit Consultants is all you need to know about the company. If they would do it to Mr. Anderson, they will do it to you.
According to a comment in BehindMLM, in 2011, AmeriPlan terminated without cause 760 Benefit Consultants.
Remember, whatever you build with AmeriPlan can be taken away. That’s no way to build a business
Is AmeriPlan a Scam?
Before I call a business a scam, I need to be sure I can prove it has been dishonest and deceptive. Although AmeriPlan has certainly proven it lacks integrity, I can’t prove AmeriPlan is a scam.
However, it’s treatment of Anthony Anderson and many other Benefit Consultants is unethical.
I’m confident when I say AmeriPlan lacks integrity and has shown a total disregard for its Benefit Consultants. Knowing this, why would anyone invest their time, energy and money with them?
Furthermore, I don’t see the AmeriPlan product as an actual product. It’s more like a discount coupon. AmeriPlan does not create these discount services, the services are available with or without AmeriPlan, so I don’t see the advantage of paying a monthly subscription fee in the hopes of maybe saving some money.
Can You Make Money with AmeriPlan?
Because AmeriPlan does not share what it pays the average Benefit Consultant, we must assume that the earnings are no better than the industry average, that is less than 1% break even. Those are horrific odds to try to beat.
Unless you already have a business that puts you in contact with large numbers of people who can benefit from AmeriPlan, I recommend that you avoid their so-called “opportunity.” Otherwise, I think it would be a waste of your time, money and energy.
Remember Anthony Anderson!
Remember the Anthony Anderson case. Although he spent nine years of his life building a successful sales organization for AmeriPlan, they terminated him and stole his downline. That’s all you need to know about AmeriPlan.
Because AmeriPlan has demonstrated a lack of integrity and a willingness to steal from their own people, I cannot see how anyone in their right mind would do business with them.
If you found this article helpful or have experience with AmeriPlan you would like to share, please leave a comment below. Thank You!