Health insurance has jumped in price to an astronomical rate. It is to the point that two-income households can barely afford to have insurance through their own employers. The rise in insurance costs also brings the rise of insurance scams.
Health insurance scam artists sell phony insurance policies and while collecting thousands of dollars in premiums, they never supply medical coverage. Therefore, their victims are left with millions in medical bills and seriously in debt. These victims are usually the elderly, small business owners and young families who are already struggling financially.
How To Avoid Insurance Fraud
The best way to avoid these insurance scams is to learn the facts. Here are some tips that might help:
Call your local Better Business Bureau and ask what you should look for. If you aren’t familiar with the company offering this ‘great’ deal, then run to your phone and call the BBB! They can give you the phone number of your state’s Department of Insurance. Each state has one and they can tell you if this company actually exists. Also, carefully read through all materials (even the small print) and their websites, if they have one.
Be suspicious if it seems unusually cheap and has few questions about your health. Be wary of ‘stop-loss insurance” coverage or ones that claim really low rates and minimal underwriting. Again, another warning sign to check them out.
Blogger insurance is something that you can learn about. It is a really great way for bloggers to get their online assets insured. As most people are not aware of this, they only focus on health, home, or auto insurance only. This is a great example that will help you in understanding that you should always pick an insurance policy according to your needs.
Also, be distrustful of those door-to-door health insurance salesmen. Get their business card and their printed materials and ask them to come back another time when you’re not so busy. Then, you have the time to check out his/her credentials. Take your time in deciding and do not let an agent pressure you into signing anything.
Any insurance agent who isn’t local has only a P.O. box as an address and has no local number cell numbers don not count) should be avoided completely. Pressure tactics like ‘urgent’, ‘final deadline’ and ‘last chance’ should also be clear warnings. Another bad sign is an agent who continues to badger you with phone calls or by coming to your home constantly. Report them immediately to the authorities and to the Department of Insurance. Although the police will not be able to stop them, it may send a message that you are not going to be an easy victim of their insurance scam.
Better Business Bureau.org states to make certain that the insurance agent is selling a state-licensed product. Especially be aware of ERISA or union plans. An ERISA is a federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act. These may be exempt from state insurance regulations. Unions can establish legitimate ERISA or union plans for its own members or by an employer for its own employees. But insurance agents do not sell them.
Where To Go
If you are unsure where to look for information, here are some helpful places to start with:
National Association of Insurance Commissioners:www.naic.org
Better Business Bureau: www.bbb.org
Coalition Against Insurance Fraud: www.insurancefraud.org
U.S. Department of Labor: www.dol.gov
Your state’s Department of Insurance(each state has one)
These are only a few things that you can do to guard yourself against insurance scams. After all, you are your own best defender. Just remember the old line, “if it’s too good to be true, it usually is’, applies most of all to insurance scam artists. Today, there are so many ways that you can easily avoid being taken. Use them for your own protection and for your loved ones.