insurance

Steer clear of health insurance scams

Fake insurance policies
Fake insurance policies © zimmytws/Shutterstock.com

Like counterfeit money, bogus health insurance is not only circulating, but it's becoming increasingly common. James Quiggle, communications director of the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, says fake policies are particularly virulent.

"These crooks come out of the woodwork and promise affordable premiums, no medical exams and guaranteed acceptance," Quiggle says, adding that the criminals who offer worthless policies often operate through sophisticated networks with strong marketing arms and money-laundering components. Many times they can be tied to organized crime.

Often, these con artists target small businesses, unions and associations. It's only when a policyholder needs the insurance that the game's up.

How to spot the scam: Use common sense, says Quiggle. Check with your state's department of insurance to see if the company is properly licensed. And remember, if it seems too good to be true, it most likely is.

What to do: If your policy is through an organization, report fraud to someone within the organization. Also, report the fraud to the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov and your state's department of insurance.

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