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How to Stay Protected From Health Insurance Scams

By Shelley Turk, Divisional Senior Vice President Health Care Delivery, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois

You might be sleeping, walking the dog, working or cheering on your favorite team. Life is good, right? But scammers — down the street or half a world away — are trying to steal your information.

Most often, scammers want to clean out your bank account or buy things with your credit card. But mortgage title theft and health insurance scams are becoming increasingly common.

Below is a summary of some common scams and areas to watch for, but you can visit the BCBSIL library to learn more about health insurance scams.

The Affordable Care Act and other programs have expanded access to health care, but they also have opened the door to fraud. Here are some things you can do to protect yourself.

Guard your digits. Don’t give your Social Security, credit card, bank account or phone numbers to anyone offering an “ACA card.” There’s no such thing.

Beware of people pushing an ACA health plan. The ACA requires most people to have health insurance, but you don’t have to buy a new plan. If you have health insurance through your job, Medicare or Medicaid, you can keep it or look at other plans offered by your insurer.

Shut the door on con artists. Health insurers don’t make door-to-door sales calls. If someone knocks on your door, tell them to mail information to you. If they do, check out the company before providing any data to an enrollment form. Ask a trusted family member or friend to also look at the information.

Watch out for fake government workers. Scammers can pose as government employees asking for your health information to “update it in the system.” No such workers exist. If you need to change your information, call your insurance carrier directly.

But wait, there’s more!

Con artists promise low prices, no medical exams and guaranteed acceptance. These policies often are severely limited or fake and should raise a red flag. They also know the faster they get you to make a decision, the more likely they’ll get your private information. You almost never have to act now.

Fake insurance sites mimic those run by legitimate health insurance companies. Make sure you’re using a company’s real website before giving any personal information or debit and credit card numbers. If you’re not sure, call your insurer directly to confirm their real web address.

In some states, the federal government runs the state’s health care exchange, where con artists set up fake state exchange websites that collect personal information — and even money — from unsuspecting consumers. Illinois isn’t one of them. Here, the state operates its own exchange called Get Covered Illinois for people and small businesses to purchase health insurance at federally subsidized rates.

The government provides trained navigators at no charge to help people who don’t know much about health insurance. But con artists posing as navigators may ask customers to pay for their advice.

Some cheap insurance plans are merely discount cards, often with an imitation list of doctors and high fees hidden in fine print and no insurance benefits.

You have to consider factors besides price when choosing a health plan. Buy from an insurance company you trust. Beware of companies you’ve never heard of because they may be scams. Search reviews of these companies, or you may end up without health insurance — or the money to pay for it. 

Visit the BCBSIL library to learn more about health insurance scams.


Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, a Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association