Health insurance is generally confusing. Small wonder that insurance scammers make money fraudulently. Victims often have a hard time spotting scammers. They come at us from everywhere, with email, phone calls, letters and even texts. Unfortunately, scammers are good at what they do, so many victims tend to believe them.
How Scammers Deceive
Clues that someone is a scammer often shop up during conversations with the person trying to “help” you.
“I’ll help you get new insurance for a small fee.”
This is just one of the ways scammers try to get your financial information. Real health insurance experts, called “navigators” or “assisters”, help people with their insurance are not allowed to charge for their services.
“What you need is a medical discount program.”
These (expensive) programs exist so it sounds legit. But scammers add misleading or false information, promising that the medical discount program meets the minimum requirements of the Affordable Health Act. In fact, these programs are NOT health insurance. Scammers may try to convince you that you’ll save money (despite the fee you’ll be charged) and tell you that the discount program will help you avoid a Marketplace penalty fee.
“You need to renew your Medicare and get a new card.”
Of course, getting a “new Medicare card” will come with a fee. You might be told that you must pay that fee, or else you might lose Medicare coverage. But you are not required to get a new Medicare card every year.
“I’m with the government.”
The government will NOT call, email or text you claiming to be from a government entity. They’ll ask you to verify bank information or Social Security number. If you get something through the mail, remember that legitimate government representatives will never ask you to give them your credit card number, wire them money or share financial information with them.
Other Signs That Can Identify a Fraud
If you are approached about buying or renewing health insurance, be careful to look for signs the person and offer are not legitimate.
- You’re told you must act now you’ll get better pricing.
- You’re offered a medical discount card.
- The salesperson is very aggressive.
- If the cost of what they want to sell you for insurance is substantially lower than plans you’ve considered, it’s just too good to be true.
Alert Authorities About Any Fraud You Uncover
- Report the fraud by contacting your state’s insurance commissioner.
- You can also report scams through HealthCare.gov or the FTC at https://www.ftc.gov/complaint.