In desperate times, people turn to desperate measures. This is one reason why health insurance scams are such a problem. Someone who needs help paying for expensive medical treatments may want to believe in an easy solution – even if it’s too good to be true. But how do you separate scammers from legitimate companies that want to help you lower your medical expenses? Here are some tips on navigating the confusing health insurance marketplace to avoid being taken by an unethical enterprise.
Common Health Insurance Scams and How to Avoid Being a Victim
Most of the time, a scammer’s goal is to steal your personal information to use it for nefarious means. Other times, a company will falsely represent itself as a reputable insurance company and collect monthly fees.
The best way to avoid a scam is to only give your personal or financial information to a company or government organization you reach out to directly. It’s also important that you understand the difference between medical discount plans and health insurance.
Here are a few warning signs that a health services company may not be legit.
Someone who says they are from a government agency says you need to send money or submit your personal information.
Some people think they are too smart to fall victim to identity theft. But then, those same people will give their Social Security numbers and bank account or credit card numbers to someone who reached out to them claiming to be a government official.
Government officials don’t need your credit card number. You don’t have to pay fees for a new Medicare card. Also, no one from Medicare will contact you to say that your coverage will be canceled unless you provide personal information over the phone. For questions or concerns about Medicare or the Health Insurance Marketplace, contact the agencies directly:
- Medicare: Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)
- Health Insurance Marketplace: HealthCare.gov or 1-800-318-2596
If someone reaches out to you claiming to be from a government agency, report medicare fraud by calling 1-800-MEDICARE or visiting ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
Someone asks for account numbers for a health insurance plan price quote.
The Affordable Care Act’s website allows you to compare health insurance plans and check your eligibility for healthcare subsidies. Your monthly income and age are the only information you need to provide to receive a price quote for the programs. Don’t give your SSN, bank account number, or credit card number to get a health insurance quote.
On a side note, navigators who offer help with the Health Insurance Marketplace will not ask you for personal or financial information, and they don’t charge for their services.
Someone tries to sell you a fake medical discount plan.
Please understand that legitimate medical discount plans can help you save money on medical products and services. Here’s how such a plan works: your household could receive discounts on health care expenses in exchange for an affordable monthly fee. Sometimes consumers purchase a medical discount plan because they wish to save money on products and services their health insurance plan doesn’t cover, such as dental, vision, hearing, or chiropractic services. Other times, people without health insurance plans purchase medical discount plans if they plan to pay out of pocket for healthcare expenses.
A medical discount plan is not the same as an insurance plan you buy from a health insurance company.
Unfortunately, some medical discount plan companies use unethical marketing strategies to make it sound like they sell health insurance. This misinformation results can have severe ramifications. For example, people who think they have health coverage may discover that they are without health insurance during an expensive medical emergency.
Here are some ways to tell if a medical discount plan is legit:
- Call the local providers. Before signing up for a medical discount plan, call the providers on the list to ensure they still accept the plan. Ask about discount details before signing up for the program.
- Read the plan details. Contact your state’s insurance commissioner’s office if the medical discount plan company presents itself as a health insurance company. This type of health insurance fraud can have serious ramifications if patients undergo expensive medical treatment, thinking they have insurance coverage to help pay for the healthcare bills.
- Don’t fall for high-pressure sales tactics. Legitimate companies should be willing to send you written information and give you a chance to research their claims before you enroll.
- Only give your personal information if you call the company directly or are sure you are visiting a legitimate business website. Medical scams are popular with identity thieves. Whether it’s a health insurance scam or a medical discount scam – the results are the same. Learn more about how to report health insurance fraud by visiting this website.
Contact AmeriPlan To Learn How to Reduce Your Medical Expenses
If you want health insurance, go to HealthCare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596. However, if you wish to purchase a medical discount plan, contact AmeriPlan directly. We invite you to research our company by first checking the local medical providers in your area that accept the program. Then, once you understand how much you can save on prescription drugs, vision care, chiropractic services, or other medical expenses, contact us directly to enroll.