How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of a Health Plan Scam

Posted by on Apr 4, 2013 in Employee Benefit Program, Health | 0 comments

How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of a Health Plan Scam

 

Fake health plans are appearing more often. The people behind these scams are taking advantage of millions of Americans who do not have and cannot afford regular health insurance. When these bogus plan creators refuse to compensate for the procedures they are supposed to cover, policyholders end up paying for both their medical bills and needless premiums for fake coverage. There are many criminals exploiting the confusion about health care reform. In some cases, people selling these plans are saying they work for the government. Many advertise using the television, faxes and emails. To avoid being a victim of one of these scams, there are several important things to know.

How The Plans Work
One common element of a scam plan is a strong sales pitch with plenty of hype. Con artists usually offer full coverage for an unusually low price. However, the products they actually deliver are a different story. In most cases, the only proof of coverage provided is a cheap card or a piece of paper that provides a minimal discount on regular fee schedules. While some coverage options may not include anything, there are others that include only a few minor issues. This stripped-down coverage is nearly useless for anyone.

The Effects Of Scams
The worst part of health plan scams is that consumers are the ones ultimately footing the bills. They must pay for all or most of every expense. In some cases, bills may reach into lower five-digit numbers. This can quickly deplete savings accounts and create massive debts, which can ruin a person’s financial future. What is even worse is that people endanger their health with these scams. Trying to find new coverage or waiting to pay for treatment after being scammed can worsen many medical conditions. Another negative effect of these plans is that they help crooks become richer. Nobody wants to see dishonest fraudsters paying for mansions, luxury cars and vacations with their money.

Signs To Watch For
There are several things every consumer should be aware of. It is easy to feel enticed by an attractive offer when it is extended, but it is even more important to make sure the coverage will actually be beneficial and not detrimental. The following are signs to watch for:

– Hard-driven or aggressive sales pitches are sent from telemarketers, emails and faxes.
– Correspondence arrives from companies with no names and only toll-free numbers.
– Signs are stapled to phone poles or public bulletin boards.
– Salesmen have pushy attitudes and often refer to special deals.
– Reps claim plans are compliant with health reform and lie that it is now required.
– Salesmen offer special plans for seniors that sound too good to be true.
– Reps offer plans with low premiums and low deductibles.
– Reps provide vague answers to consumers’ questions.
– The process of enrollment is as easy as filling out a form.
– Reps push for banking or financial info before forms are signed.
– Internet sites are vague or questionable.
– Members are required to join associations or unions.
– Plans are offered in states where they do not need federal licenses.
– There is slow correspondence or suspicious delays with payments.

Fighting Back Against Fraudsters
The best step to take is to read every piece of paper thoroughly. If the papers are too confusing and the agent does not provide clear answers, he or she may not be offering an honest deal. Never provide financial information before signing any official forms. Do not rely only on the literature provided by the company when making a decision. Before considering doing business with any insurer, research the company’s reputation online. When doing this, use neutral third-party sites where the information is more objective. Another helpful step is to verify that a company’s plan is licensed with the state. If it is not licensed, consumers should continue shopping. Private coverage is always licensed by states and never a federal authority. For answers to any questions, discuss concerns with an agent.