For those looking to purchase health insurance in the marketplace during the open enrollment period (now through mid-December), there are some potential scams to be wary of as you get ready to sign up. Unfortunately, health insurance scams have been around for years now, and since most people purchase their insurance online now, certain websites are created to be misleading in order to trick people into entering their information and eventually trying to get direct access to their bank account and more sensitive information for payments.
The FTC recommends that anyone trying to purchase insurance under the Affordable Care Act only use the Healthcare.gov website. There are also individuals and groups who are able to help with buying health insurance, including brokers and navigators who are trained in how to help applicants use the system. To make sure they are qualified to do so, check out the local help section on Healthcare.gov (just enter your zip code). For best practices when it comes to purchasing insurance via Medicare or a private company, visit the FTC’s page on Avoiding Open Enrollment Scams.
Some other signs that your insurance is potentially a scam are:
- If the price seems “too good to be true.”
- It is being offered at a “discounted” rate.
- You’re being pressured to purchase health insurance by a certain deadline (that does not coincide with the open market deadline of December 15).
- You’re asked for a specific type of payment such as a bank routing number.
- Something seems “off” about the communication process (i.e. a person who was trying to sell you insurance doesn’t have a direct line).
If you suspect you have been involved in a scam, close the affected bank account (if you gave direct access) as soon as possible and put a freeze on your credit so sensitive information like your social security number being exposed has less chance to harm you. Note: you only have to freeze your credit at one of the three agencies (Equifax, Transunion, and Experian) because they report to each other.
Keep yourself and your financial life healthy as you shop for your insurance plan.
For more information: 10 Warning Signs Of A Health Insurance Scam