Recently we have had several of our patients get “Scammed” from health insurance telemarketers. Someone called our patients and offered then a Zero Premium Health Insurance policy. The actual insurance was for virtual care only so our patients couldn’t actually see a provider in person. There was no hospitalization coverage.
Health insurance is supposed to protect you and your family from unexpected medical expenses and rarely is it free. Often people just cannot afford it. That is why Volunteers in Medicine exist so we can help those in need get free healthcare. Here are some tips to help you avoid health insurance scams:
1. Research the company
Before buying a health insurance policy, research the company thoroughly. Check if the company is licensed to sell insurance in your state by visiting the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ website. Also, check if the company has a good reputation by reading reviews. There are health insurance plans that are so difficult to work with, the local doctors refuse to work with them.
2. Don’t fall for offers that are too good to be true
If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be wary of health insurance policies that offer coverage for all medical conditions, regardless of pre-existing conditions, at a low price without co-pays or deductibles.
3. Be cautious of unsolicited calls or emails
Avoid giving personal information over the phone or email to someone you don’t know. Scammers may try to convince you to buy a health insurance policy over the phone or through email.
4. Verify the details of the policy
Before buying a health insurance policy, make sure you understand all the details of the policy, including coverage limits, co-pays, deductibles, and exclusions. If you don’t understand something, ask questions. Also, verify the policy details with the insurance company’s representative in writing.
5. Don’t pay upfront
Never pay for a health insurance policy upfront without verifying the details and legitimacy of the company. Scammers may ask you to wire money or pay through a money transfer service. Instead, pay with a credit card or check so you can dispute the charges if necessary.
6. Consult a licensed insurance agent
If you are unsure about a health insurance policy, consult a licensed insurance agent. They can help you understand the policy details and ensure that you are getting the coverage you need.
In conclusion, health insurance scams can be costly and result in inadequate healthcare coverage. It’s important to research the company, be cautious of unsolicited calls or emails, verify the details of the policy, and consult a licensed insurance agent. Remember, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
By: John B Newman MD FACS