Getting Health Insurance

How Con Artists Use Health Insurance Scams to Pick Your Pocket

hands holding money

If you’re walking through a crowd, you know to hang on to your wallet, but did you know that it’s just as important to hold on to your wallet when you’re in the market for health insurance? Here are just a few of the ways con artists use health insurance scams to worm their way into your personal information, as well as tips on how to protect yourself from these crooks.

Can artists find any weakness they can to fool unsuspecting victims. Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of health insurance scams  , but a few of the more popular ones are:

  • Fake health insurance policies. This one is rising fast, according to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud. Con artists promise low prices, no medical exams and guaranteed acceptance. Any too-good-to-be-true promises should raise a red flag. Before you pull out that handy dandy check book, contact the Federal Trade Commission or your state insurance department to find out if it’s a real company or just another health insurance scam.
  • Con Artists Use ScamsDiscount cards called insurance plans. These are cheap! Of course, you get what you pay for. Chances are the “insurance plan” will have a phony lists of doctors, high fees masked with fine print and zero benefits. Be sure to thoroughly read the documentation that comes with it and don’t be afraid to ask questions before signing up.
  • Phony state health exchanges. In states that chose not to set up health exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (leaving it to the federal government), con artists set up fake state exchange websites. Their goal: reel in the unsuspecting. You hand over your personal information, financial data and cash to someone and in return you get absolutely no health insurance. Doesn’t seem like a fair exchange. Check to see if your state has set up a state-run health exchange.
  • “Government” workers. These con artists pretend to “help” people with ACA insurance. But the real goal of these health insurance scams is for the scammers to help themselves to your Medicare, bank, Social Security or any other personal information they can use to make illegal medical claims.  Ask to see their government ID before providing any personal information.
  • High-pressure sales. Con artists know that the faster they can force you to make a decision, the more likely they are to walk away with your private information or sell you something you don’t need or want. An alarm should sound in your head when a scammer says something like, “Today is the last day to act,” or, “if you don’t sign up now, your big discount is lost.”
  • Charges for ACA insurance advice. The government urges people who don’t know much about health insurance to seek out trained “navigators” for help and guidance. Con artists posing as navigators ask customers to pay for their advice. Official ACA navigators do not charge for their services.
  • Web sites designed to look like those of trusted insurance firms. These fake sites look and act like those of legitimate insurance companies. Make sure you are dealing with the real website before entering any personal information and especially before plugging in your debit card number. If you’re not sure, call the business and ask what their official web address is before proceeding.

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