1. Back off and go slow.
Avoid signing up if you’re pressured to buy quickly—no matter how good the deal seems. Know what you’re buying before signing up.
Don’t give your credit card and bank account number to a telemarketer or Internet site of an unfamiliar health plan.
2. Read the policy.
Insist on receiving a complete insurance policy before signing up. Read it line by line, review it again or have a qualified expert read it. Does the policy deliver what the sales pitch promises?
Never rely solely on marketing literature and don’t believe a telemarketer who promises you have “full health coverage.” It may be empty promises.
3. Is the plan licensed?
Call your state insurance department to make sure the plan is licensed in your state. Does the plan also have a history of complaints?
Some dishonest plans are licensed, but lie about what they’re selling. They promise full health coverage. However, you receive a nearly useless limited policy that’s loaded with limits and exclusions or you receive a medical discount card, which is NOT insurance.
4. Check out the “association” or “union.”
If you’re required to join, check out that group’s website. Does it list a street address or merely a P.O. box in some unreadable place in Jakarta, Indonesia or South Africa?
Is the website suspiciously brief and vague about its activities? Does it seem designed mostly to hype health coverage as the primary product?
5. Contact the insurer.
Some health plans lie that they offer coverage through a legitimate, well-known insurance company. Contact the company to verify. If it is not that of a hassle, you can also visit their stated physical address.
6. Contact your insurance department.
If you think you’re dealing with a crooked health plan, contact your state insurance department immediately.
Provide as much specific documentation as possible to help the department investigate the plan. You can also put a warning out in case they might be victimizing other people as well.