Health Insurance Scams - How to Spot Them and What to DO

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Now that everyone is required to have health insurance or pay a penalty, scammers and evil-doers are out there trying to take your money.  Below you will find trusted sources for information and tips on how to tell the real deal from the scammers.  

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If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

If someone calls you and tells you about a health insurance plan that covers everything and will only cost you $35 dollars/month, be suspicious.  First ask them for the health insurance company name and their web address.  If they won't tell you either of those, it is a scam. If someone won't give you a call back number, they probably are not from a reputable company.  

If someone starts asking you lots of questions about your health (do you have asthma, cancer, high blood pressure), it is either a scam or a short-term plan. Year-round plans during open enrollment or special enrollment periods can only ask you your age, your address, and whether or not you are a smoker. 

Healthcare.gov is the Real Deal. 

The website to visit is

HTTP://WWW.HEALTHCARE.GOV/  

NOT healthcare.com.  

If you scroll to the bottom of the webpage at healthcare.COM printed in tiny letters is the following statement:  

HealthCare.com is a PRIVATELY OWNED website that is NOT owned or operated by any state or federal government agency.

Phone Call Scams

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The Marketplace (healthcare.gov) may call you if they were unable to answer your call and you left your phone number. They may also call to remind you that it is time to enroll, but the reminder calls are recordings.  If a person calls you and you are not sure who they are, ask for a callback number.  If the person is hesitant to provide a number, they are a scam. The Marketplace phone number is 1-800-318-2596 and you can call them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  

All Marketplace representatives have access to your account after you identify yourself. Marketplace representatives never ask you for financial information, such as bank names and account numbers. They will never ask you to pay for insurance over the phone.

What Does A Scammer Sound Like?

This a recording of a scammer who calls and leaves a voicemail.  This same voicemail was left for hundreds of people.   Do not call this person back, they are not from Healthcare.gov and can not sign you up for real health care.  

Protect Yourself

The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud has a list of fake health plans and health care scams with 10 warning signs. To protect yourself, they suggest:

  • Slow down: Avoid signing up if you feel pressured to buy
  • Ask to read the policy
  • Call the insurance company to verify the program offered is a real plan and not just a medical discount card.

Read more here.

What to do if you are believe you are the victim of a health insurance scam

If you believe you are the victim of a health insurance scam, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  Fill in this form online: http://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov

You can report Medicaid fraud or abuse by calling 855-MI-FRAUD (643-7283) or by filing an online complaint

To contact your local Medicaid office or find out about your Medicaid benefits, contact your local DHHS office or call the Medicaid Helpline at 1-800-642-3195. 

 

resources about healthcare scams:

Protect yourself from Marketplace fraud  https://www.healthcare.gov/how-can-i-protect-myself-from-fraud-in-the-health-insurance-marketplace/

Read about recent scams or sign up for Scam Alerts from the FTC:  http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts

Stop Medicare Fraud http://www.stopmedicarefraud.gov/

 

-M. Buhalis

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