State warns consumers about health insurance scams

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by Justin Corr

NWCN.com

Posted on September 12, 2013 at 6:43 PM

BOISE -- The Idaho Health Insurance Exchange, or Your Health Idaho, is scheduled to go live in less than three weeks.

People still have a lot of questions and scammers are taking advantage of that.

You don't have to buy insurance from the exchange if you're already insured or if you want to buy from somewhere else.  It's an option.

But, it's also apparently an opportunity for scammers.

Bill Deal, the Director of the Idaho Department of Insurance, says Idahoans are being scammed.

"These scammers are out there popping up across the state," Deal said.

He says there is still a lot of people confused about what the upcoming state health insurance exchange named Your Health Idaho, will look like. And scammers are preying on that.

A couple of the scams they're seeing involves a phone solicitor trying to pressure you into purchasing a limited time offer, or claiming that you could go to jail for not having health insurance.

"It's a red flag because it's not true," Deal said. "Nobody is going to jail."

Being uninsured might result in a fine on your taxes, but you won't face jail time. Also, Deal says open enrollment in the exchange will run from October 1st until March 31st.

"There's no rush to buy," he said.

In fact, if you get any unsolicited call from someone trying to sell insurance on the exchange, it's a scam. Also, if they tell you that you need a new insurance or Medicaid card, they're likely trying to steal your personal and financial information because the government already has all the information from you they need.

"We just don't want that kind of information being given to the wrong people," Deal said.

Deal says every insurance agent selling plans on the exchange will have to be licensed in the state and have a special certification to sell on Your Health Idaho. Deal says all those agents will be listed on the website for the Department of Insurance.

"What we wanted to let people know is to be very careful," Deal said.

Deal says if you have any questions about an insurance agent or health plan, to check the website for the Department of Insurance, or give them a call.  Or, you can check Your Health Idaho.

You can reach the Department of Insurance at 1-800-721-3272.

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