How can you tell if health insurance agents are scam artist?

How can you tell if health insurance agents are scam artist?

Postby J_X » Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:49 am

To make a long story shot, I want to purchase health insurance for my family because of self employment. I used a insurance plan finder off the internet, that is well known to pull up plans, agents, and prices of plans on the internet. Of course, when I put my personal information in the recommended places so agents or retailers could call, I had tons of agents called. When I looked into a few of the quotes and offers that were thrown at me, one particular health plan sounded good and fit into my budget. But, when I asked the agent or retail person who was selling insurance for a brochure of the plan and company providing the insurance, I was told that there was nothing available. The retailer stated that her job was to tell me what the insurance provider offered, process my order, and then the insurance company would send me the policy. This particular insurance company waives all physicals, blood work, and other enrollment rules because of new laws, but there is a hefty enrollment fee. My question is how can I verify or look at what the insurance company has to offer, when the retail lady or agent won't give me any information. I know it could be a scam, but the monthly fee is in my budget, and I need health insurance. I will look around for better insurance groups or reliable agents, but isn't the law that the retailer or online health insurance agent must make the health insurance plan information available before purchasing, The agent stated that plan is a month to month payment, no contracts, and that the insurance group doesn't give out brochures because I should be able to tell if I like the health insurance plan with in 30 days of purchasing the health insurance plan. Please don't think i am ignorant, its just I have never had to purchase health insurance before independently.
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Re: How can you tell if health insurance agents are scam artist?

Postby Exclusively_Yours » Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:36 am

I would NEVER buy health insurance that does not offer a brochure or more information. Legitimate businesses will more than willingly offer you information and not having a brochure or information pamphlet is a very good sign that it's a scam. I wouldn't give them any information and if they ever contact you again, delete their emails or ask to be taken off their calling list.

Odds are, they'll wind up taking your money and running. Check the company out with your local consumer protection agency, Better Business Bureau, state Attorney General, the National Fraud Information Center, or other watchdog groups. Unfortunately, not all bad businesses can be identified through these organizations, but they might have this particular company on their watch lists.

IF you think this place is diffidently a fraud or scam, report them to the Better Business Bureau and they'll investigate to make sure that other people do not make the same mistake. They will be able to confirm whether or not it's a scam and if you feel uncomfortable reporting them, just keep in mind that it's their job to do this sort of stuff.

Health insurance can be expensive, but you have to consider how much more expensive it'll be if something goes wrong and you have to pay out $2,000+ for a broken arm or surgery. There are some well known insurance companies that will lower your payments if you take a lower deductible and/or co-payment.

I'd take a higher payment over a higher deductible though. You might need to skim on some stuff in order to get by, but it's better than being to your neck in debt if you get in an accident and then you can't even work to pay off those bills.

However, another thing to consider when deciding deductibles and co-payments is how often you foresee using these services. Do you do a lot of driving where you might possibly get into an accident? Do you work with heavy machinery or in a risky environment where you might possibly break something or hurt yourself? If you have a high risk job and you really think you'll need your deductible and co-payments to be low, then you can sacrifice them for the monthly payment.

You say you need health insurance, but you can get cheaper insurance for lower deducible and you might even get a lower rate if you sign a longer contract. If you have employees (which I'm not sure if you do) you can get group insurance between you and your employees and get a lower rate for having a group of people.

This company sounds like a scam -- I wouldn't pay anything without a contract. A contract is your lifeline. How can you expect them to pay for your medical bills when there isn't a signed contract with a promise that they will? You'll end up with less money than your started out with and still no insurance.

Good luck!
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Re: How can you tell if health insurance agents are scam artist?

Postby Margarita_D » Tue Dec 07, 2010 5:53 am

In terms of getting a brochure or other marketing materials -- the response you are getting from the retail agent is possible but unlikely. Even if there were no brochure, the agent should be able to offer information on the companies website where you should be able to look up the doctors that accept that plan and other information. The other concern is that I have never heard of a company charging a hefty enrollment fee -- all the major health insurance companies that I work with, i.e. Aetna, United Health Care, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Coventry, etc. do not charge an enrollment fee -- at least not for the plans that I have sold to date. The only charge has been payment of the first month's premium for an individual policy.

That said -- I would suggest that to verify the legitimacy of this company and the agent that you contact the Department of Insurance in your state by first looking up your state government website and then finding the contact under Department of Insurance or Insurance Commission. Most state insurance departments now allow you to verify whether a company or agent is licensed in that state and further if they have had any complaints which resulted in disciplinary action. If this is a scam, it has probably already been reported to your state's department of insurance. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau in your state.

If you find that this company is not legitimate, I suggest that you contact a local independent insurance agent that specializes in health insurance so that you can meet with them face to face and choose the best plan possible for your particular circumstances & budget. I do not believe that the internet is a good place to purchase health insurance -- most of the websites just farm out your information to multiple agents and you have no opportunity to truly get a feel for who the agent is and if they care about you. The internet is great for research on the plans and the language but in the end there is no better option than actually dealing with a human being.

I hope this information helps. Good Luck
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Re: How can you tell if health insurance agents are scam artist?

Postby Insurance_Pickle_c » Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:01 am

It is a discount plan. They WAIVE the physicals and medical questions because it isn't insurance. Their plan won't even qualify in 2014 as an insurance plan so you'll still have to pay the penalty tax for not having insurance Your first mistake was putting your information in to that site because all they do is sell your information. You have no idea who is calling you. You need to find an insurance broker. An insurance broker will have a tool like we have on our site. It'll NOT require all of your information and it'll show you the plans that are available to you side by side.

If someone shows you one plan, then you shouldn't do business with them. Brokers are free as they get paid by the insurance company and they can sell just about any plan out there. So, all you need is one good broker. When you go to a web site look at the 'about us' and 'contact' section of the site. If they have no physical address then don't give them any information.

Oh, and don't call the lady an 'agent.' She's not licensed so she can lie to you as she has no license to lose.
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Re: How can you tell if health insurance agents are scam artist?

Postby mbrcatz » Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:14 am

Well, you can just start with "I found it on the internet". That's probably the WORST way to buy health insurance, or any insurance, unless you're an EXPERT. Which most people aren't. And most EXPERTS, btw, use a local agent.

So, when you use that rate comparison website, one of three things happens:

1. the website owner gets paid 2 -3 cents for each click - it's only about making money for them. OR
2. the website is actually harvesting your personal information, to sell to agents, LOTS of agents, as leads. Which sounds like is what happened.
3. the website is designed to give you fake rates, to steer you to one particular company, to sell you THAT insurance for THAT company, at a different rate.

You didn't USE an agent. That's mistake #1.

As far as "buy it first, pay a nonrefundable enrollment fee, find out later what's covered", that's usually followed up by "the company keeps charging my credit card, no one is responding to my request to cancel, and I've never received any paperwork". BAD IDEA.

So, you can look up an AGENT, by NAME, on your state insurance department website, to see if they're licensed to sell insurance in your state. You can look up the insurance company, by name, on your state insurance department website to see if THEY are licensed to sell insurance in your state, and if they have complaints. You can ALSO ask the agent for an "AM BEST" rating, and try to look them up on AM BEST to verify their financial strength.

Look, the "agent" you're talking to, keeps talking about a PLAN. PLAN'S aren't insurance. They aren't regulated, there's no supervising authority. Every single think you're saying, just SCREAMS "I AM A SCAM!".

Don't do it.

Go find a local agent or broker near you, with a real office, that's open during regular business hours. They will sell you a REAL policy, will have their license on the wall for you to look at, and if you have problems, there's a real place you can go to walk in, and get help/answers. PLUS, it doesn't cost any extra.
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