Don't get scammed by misleading, fake insurance plans during open enrollment

Federal Trade Commission issues warning

INDIANAPOLIS--  It’s open enrollment time, but you need to be careful when you’re signing up for insurance benefits.

Dishonest companies and scammers are banking on you being confused by choices, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Customers at Simple Health were allegedly tricked into believing its plans offer comprehensive coverage and were compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) standards.

“The company allegedly lured people in through lead-generation sites, using logos of well-known health insurance providers to make itself look credible,” said Lisa Lake, a consumer education specialist with the Federal Trade Commission. “Simple Health asked for personal information on the site, followed up with phone calls, and pitched what it said were affordable, comprehensive, ACA-qualified plans with low or no co-pays or deductibles.”

But once customers signed up, often at high premiums, they did not get anywhere near the coverage promised, according to the FTC.

Here’s how to protect yourself against false or fraudulent health care plans:

Research the plan to see if it really is insurance. Also ask the company for the details, in writing, of what you’re buying. If it can’t give you the fine print, walk away.

Ask the Indiana Department of Insurance: The FTC recommends asking your state insurance commissioner’s office if a plan is legitimate. You can also look at naic.org or consumeraction.gov.

Be careful when giving out your personal information. A site might look legit, but some might be fronts for criminals waiting to steal your money and personal information.

Consider what others are saying. Do an online search of the company name and the word “complaint.” People’s reviews should give you an idea of the company’s reputation.

Educate yourself. Learn the difference between health insurance and medical discount plans.

 

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