All Americans should have health insurance coverage to protect their families in case of an unforeseen emergency or even a routine doctor visit. If you aren’t eligible for coverage through an employer, and you aren’t old enough for Medicare, you may have to look elsewhere for insurance. It can be a confusing task, to say the least. You are probably already getting inundated with emails and phone calls from insurance companies offering their services. A lot of folks also search the internet for guidance on finding the best coverage.
Unfortunately, there are tons of scams and a lot of misinformation out there, so you need to be careful. There are some telltale signs to be wary of when looking at health insurance companies. Let’s examine some of the major scams that are preying on the vulnerable so that you don’t make a mistake.
Unfortunately, there are tons of health insurance scams out there. Here are some telltale signs to be wary of when looking at insurance companies.
Fake websites are the most deceptive of the scams because they typically look quite legitimate. Scam artists spend a lot of time creating professional-looking websites so that they can lure unsuspecting folks. Here are some important things to look for:
- Scroll down to the very bottom of the page to check the name of the company. If you haven’t heard of the company, chances are it isn’t real. You can also search on Google by typing the company name followed by the word “scam”, and you will be able to see what other people have discovered. If other people have found the company to be fake, their comments will show up in the search. If no information exists when you search for the company name, you can also assume it isn’t real.
- If the website asks you for personal information, such as birthdate, social security number or credit card number, you can be certain that the company is a scam. Leave the website right away.
- Even if the website only asks for your phone number or email address you should still steer clear of them because that allows an open door to pester you with unending calls and emails.
Door to Door Sales
Never invite someone into your home who claims to be selling health insurance. Insurance agents would never knock on doors trying to sell you anything. Especially be wary of anyone claiming to be from the government.
One of the most annoying ways that would-be scammers try to contact people is through robocalls. In fact, a website that tracks robocalls, called YouMail, claims that 5.2 billion such calls were made in just one month in 2019 and nearly half of those were scam calls. Typically, a scam caller will leave a message that sounds urgent and will state that you must “act now” to get a great deal on coverage. The caller may also claim to be a person from the local police or even the government, trying to scare unsuspecting persons.
Nobody from the government will ever call you about obtaining health insurance. If and when the government contacts people for any reason, you will receive a notice through the United States Postal System. Also, the government already has your social security number. Just hang up and add the scammer to your list of phone numbers to ignore.
TV Ads, Email Notifications and Mailers
Many TV ads and other notifications will claim to offer health care coverage at drastically reduced rates with no deductibles. You’ve heard the phrase, “If it’s too good to be true, then it isn’t.” The same advice applies here. If you are intrigued, read through the plan carefully. Chances are that the medical discount plan is just a discount on certain costs but not actually health insurance coverage of any kind. A 20% discount on hospital stays, for example, is still an astronomical amount of money to pay.
Charging For Help in Obtaining Insurance
In addition to the ways in which fake health insurance companies advertise, it is important to know that if you are ever contacted by someone claiming they can help you find the best insurance, and they charge a fee for the help, do not accept it. Anyone who is allowed to legitimately help you through the Health Insurance Marketplace, typically called an assister or navigator, is not allowed to charge for the service. The person requiring a fee is looking for your personal information and credit card number.
Choosing the best, and safest health insurance coverage can be a daunting task but staying vigilant and cautious of would-be scammers will ease your fears.
Find a Legitimate Insurance Company
In order to avoid health insurance scams, you must find a legitimate insurance company. Find a broker you have heard of and trust. If you aren’t sure if the company is legitimate, do a Google search and read reviews from other people before making contact.
When speaking with an agent about a particular plan, have the person explain in detail all of the costs you must pay and the coverage you will receive. Do not accept vague promises. Also, never trust someone who claims they can get you a deal by circumventing the system. After you have selected the plan that is right for you, review the contract carefully before you sign. Make sure the documents include an explanation of all the services that are provided and who is providing the benefits.
If you ever suspect fraud, you can report this to the Health and Human Services Office at 1-800-447-8477 or 1-800-377-4950. Your call can help others to avoid those same scams.
Choosing the best, and safest, health insurance coverage can be a daunting task but staying vigilant and cautious of would-be scammers will ease your fears.
Have you been the victim of insurance scams?
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