Beware of Health Care Reform-Related Insurance Scams
AUSTIN - The Texas Department of Insurance has received information that scam artists may be attempting to defraud consumers about recently enacted federal health insurance reforms. These reports from Texas and across the nation indicate that fake agents and sales representatives are going door-to-door claiming to be with the federal government and peddling phony health insurance policies. Elderly consumers are prime targets for these scams.
Texans should beware of door-to-door health insurance sales, requests for immediate purchase of “limited enrollment” federal health policies, and other high-pressure sales tactics.
Here are some tips to help you protect yourself from health insurance scams:
- Be wary if someone shows up at your home or calls you and claims to be with the federal government and tries to sell you anything. Although U.S. Census workers may come to your house or call you during the next few months to obtain information about you and your household for the 2010 Census, employees from other federal agencies usually will not. Representatives from Medicare will never visit your home or call you unless you request it.
- Don’t be fooled by sophisticated sales pitches. In some states, the fraudulent sales representatives are attempting to sell a bogus product called an “ObamaCare Insurance Policy.” They may also tell you that the policy is being offered during a “limited enrollment period” created by the health care reform. Health insurance policies are issued by companies and not through legislation.
- Be careful if someone tries to pressure you into signing anything or objects if you ask for someone else to be present during a sales pitch. Legitimate insurance agents and brokers should not pressure you or mind if you have someone you trust listen to their presentation with you.
- Don’t give out personal information – including your bank account number, Social Security number, or your Medicare number – to strangers.
- Always make sure an insurance agent and company are licensed by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI). Call the TDI Consumer Help Line to verify whether an agent or company you’re considering doing business with is licensed. You can also use features on the agency website to find currently licensed insurance companies and insurance agents.
If you believe you have been the target of a fraudulent insurance-related scam, call the Texas Department of Insurance’s (TDI) Fraud Hot Line or utilize the Online Form for Reporting Insurance Fraud.
If you believe you’ve been a victim of Medicare-related fraud, call the Medicare Fraud Hot Line.
For more information on federal health insurance reforms
TDI has posted information on the new federal health insurance reforms on the agency website at: http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/consumer/cpmhealthcare.html
If you have questions about insurance, call TDI’s Consumer Help Line toll-free: 1-800-252-3439
or visit the TDI website: www.tdi.state.tx.us. Assistance is available in both English and Spanish.
For more information contact: PIO@tdi.state.tx.us
Last updated: 04/15/2010