Don't Get Scammed: How to Protect Yourself

There are thousands of unsuspecting people who end up falling victim to health insurance scams each year. Unauthorized insurers are ready to sell you health insurance with a low-cost premium and most people would never think that there are fake insurance companies out there waiting to steal your money. With so many companies offering health insurance, how does one decipher which ones are scams? The current trend of scams is on the rise due to the large number of uninsured individuals compared to the rising cost of prescription drugs. Simply put, people are looking for the best deal. There are ways to keep yourself safe from these con artists and still pay a reasonable premium.

Does a health insurance company seem to be offering a policy that is too good to be true? It could be. Victims of health insurance scams are usually those who go shopping around and find a great deal (and then find that in an emergency they are without insurance). There are no clear indicators of fraud unless you know what particular red flags to listen for during their sales pitch of their particular policy.

Con-artists are professionals at what they do because it's often how they make their entire living. They will have paperwork that looks identical to a real insurer and uphold everything that seems to be that of a genuine and legitimate agent. First, common scams include loopholes that make sure what they are selling is not actually insurance. This would mean it is a discount program of some sort. These scams may reach you by telephone, offering a discount to individuals who, for any reason, do not qualify for real insurance. Also be wary if an agent mentions their plan being "reinsured." It is true that some legitimate insurance companies do have reinsurance to protect themselves, but it is never mentioned when trying to sell insurance to a customer.

Health insurance scams are not easily spotted-liars may be trying to take advantage of your ignorance. Therefore, it is important to know all you can about health insurance before purchasing a plan. If someone calls your home and tries to sell you a form of health care or health insurance, take what knowledge you have and ask as many questions as you can think of. Any indication that this may be a fake insurer should be taken to the state insurance regulators for investigation. You could be saving yourself and others from being a victim.

Easy as 1-2-3: Obtaining Health Insurance

Many people are often concerned about obtaining health insurance. They are confused about their options or about how to obtain the best health insurance for them or their family. There are several ways to obtain health insurance, though, and some of them are not always obvious, but can be quite easy in the end.

Health insurance is commonly obtained through an employer. Nearly all employers these days offer some sort of "group" health insurance plan for employees. The term "group" simply denotes that there is a large group of people on the plan, which decreases the cost of the monthly premium for all members. These plans can cover yourself, your spouse, and your family, depending on the specific policy. Covering more than just yourself obviously increases your monthly premium, but the ability to cover your family inexpensively is a huge benefit. To obtain group health insurance through your employer, you should contact your human resources department or whoever is in charge of benefits in your company. You should be able to buy into the group health insurance plan at any time during your employment. 

If you leave an employer who offers group health insurance without first finding other coverage, you can also use the COBRA law with your previous employer's health insurance coverage. COBRA is a government act that allows you to continue coverage under your previous employer, though at a more expensive rate. If you had coverage for your entire family, COBRA will allow you to continue this full coverage for a certain period of time.

There are several million people in the United States who are unable to participate in any group health insurance plans, however. Health insurance companies do offer individual plans for those who do not have coverage through their employer, are self-employed, or are ineligible for government health insurance assistance, such as Medicare or Medicaid. Individual health insurance plans are more often than not very expensive in relation to group health insurance plans. These plans can also cover family members and spouses for additional costs. Finding individual health plans is not difficult. Almost all health insurance companies offer individual plans; you can now search online for individual health insurance plans. Some Web sites even allow you to compare pricing and details of plans offered in your area - much like shopping for car insurance.

There is also federal health assistance available depending on certain criteria. If you are over the age of 65 or if you have a disability or specific condition (detailed by the government), you are eligible for Medicare. Medicaid is another government health insurance program that is based on income. Overall, it is simply important to be covered, no matter how you go about doing it. Research your options of coverage and speak with a professional to find out more about the health insurance options available to you.

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