BBB: Do your research before buying insurance

June 6, 2013 

With all the confusion about the upcoming health insurance changes, it doesn't take much to upset people when they get a call saying, "You're getting this call because you either had insurance or your current plan would not be allowed under the new laws."

"Neither of these are true," Sandy of Idaho Falls says. "We are currently enrolled in an insurance program that is covered under the new laws."

Unethical businesses and scam artists may take advantage of the public's lack of knowledge about health care reform and convince them to sign up for phony health insurance plans. Contact your insurance provider to avoid any scam or fraudulent policy offerings.

"What was disturbing to me was the recorded message gave me two options. Press 1 for information, and 9 to be removed from the list," Sandy says. "I'm on the Do Not Call list, how did that call came through."

BBB tracked the call (407) 603-7442 to National Health Care Systems Enrollment, in Richmond, Va., and has a BBB business review on file. There was insufficient information given by the company for a rating.

Unethical businesses, bad insurance brokers and agents often attempt to take advantage of new offerings by going door-to-door trying to sell nonexistent insurance. These dishonest sales people may call these policies by any number of names. But, people need to be aware that there are now no "special" or "limited enrollment" insurance policies to buy under the new law.

These people are pretending to be from the federal government saying they sell special insurance. BBB recommends these steps:

- Check the insurance company and its reputation with the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org.

- Only licensed insurance agents and licensed insurance companies may sell health insurance in Idaho. Call the department toll-free at (208) 334-4250 or visit Idaho Department of Insurance to verify the salesperson and the company are licensed.

- Avoid dealing with a salesperson if he or she seems evasive, ill informed or reluctant to send you detailed written information.

- Do not sign any documents or paperwork. A legitimate company will welcome investigation by prospective consumers.

- Never give out personal information - including insurance-related documents, credit cards, checking or other bank account information - over the phone or internet, by email, mail or fax.

- Be cautious of any person or document stating "Required by the health care reform," "Limited enrollment," "Guaranteed benefits" or "Affordable health coverage."

- Even after new health insurance marketplaces open for business in 2014, door-to-door salespeople are unlikely to promote the new insurance plans.

- Ask for written information on what health care providers are included in the network and make sure your doctor, hospital or pharmacy is included.

- If you have health insurance, call your current insurance salesperson or agency to get comparison information.

Robb Hicken: 947-2115

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service