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Searching for the best value in a health insurance plan can seem daunting and confusing. Unfortunately, scammers are privy to this and can, unfortunately, take advantageOpens in New Window of unsuspecting consumers. As with many scams, the goal of the healthcare scammerOpens in New Window is to find tricky ways to obtain your bank account number, credit card number, personal health insurance information, and/or social security number. Read on to learn about five common types of healthcare scams, tips to protect yourself from them, and actions to take if you have been scammed.

The Impersonator

Scammers impersonating the government Opens in New Windowwill call to notify you that you are eligible to receive government grant money. After making claims to establish your eligibility for this money, the scammer will request a check or wire for money to cover a "processing fee.” Do not give out personal information over the phone. A legitimate government representative will not ask for money.

The Medicare Menace

Aimed at Medicare insurance holders specifically, a scammer will call and tell you that you must purchase new Medicare cardsOpens in New Window to avoid losing coverage. This is a scam; you should never need to pay for a new card. This bogus call is simply a threat in an attempt to obtain your financial information. 

The Club Membership

A scammer will offer to sell you a membership for a discounted medical or dental savings planOpens in New Window. You will typically be asked to pay a monthly fee in exchange for discounts on services or products not covered by insurance, such as dental, hearing, vision, or chiropractic.  

While some of these plans may truly save you money, many will offer very little (if any) savings. Typical tactics used in this scam include the scammer falsely selling these plans as insurance, making incorrect claims about the benefits, and/or give a phony list of participating providers. 

Discount savings cards are not a substitute for medical or dental insuranceOpens in New Window, and they aren’t compliant with the Affordable Care Act insurance requirements. These types of scams can seem tempting, so do your due diligence by carefully verifying any claims being made before committing, not giving out financial information over the phone, and not being pressured into making a rushed decision. 

The Helper

It can be overwhelming to trudge through information on the numerous healthcare plans available to you. Scammers will take advantage of thisOpens in New Window, offering to help you compare health insurance options or find the right plan for you. In exchange, they may request personal information or ask you to wire money to run a quote for you. 

Legitimate health insurance navigatorsOpens in New Window are professionals that are trained to help you compare health insurance plans; however, government grants pay for their services. This means there is no charge to you as a consumer, so reputable representatives will never ask for your financial information or payment.

The Surprise Bill

Medical fraud can occur when a doctor or dentist bills your insurer for services never providedOpens in New Window, or for a higher level of care than was provided. Then, they collect insurance payments on the fraudulent claims and you may receive an unexpected bill for the coinsurance amount.

Another frustrating related aspect occurs when you receive emergency services or have a scheduled medical procedure/surgery at an in-network facility. After receiving care, you may receive a bill with an out-of-network fee for an ancillary provider such as an emergency room physician or an anesthesiologist, who provided some part of your medical treatment. As of January 1, 2022, the No Surprises AcOpens in New Windowt was enacted in an effort to bans out-of-network fees on supplemental services provided by an in-network hospital or emergency services. 

How to Protect Yourself

Medical fraud can occur when a doctor or dentist bills your insurer for services never providedOpens in New Window, or for a higher level of care than was provided. Then, they collect insurance payments on the fraudulent claims and you may receive an unexpected bill for the coinsurance amount.

Partner With a Trusted Financial Advocate Like Lafayette Federal

At Lafayette Federal Credit Union, we know that the rise of online scams puts more and more people at risk of financial fraud every day. We care about our members’ online and financial safety, and our team members are trained to help you spot potential scams or abuse that could harm your financial wellbeing.

If you have concerns about a potential scam or believe you may be a victim to one, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Come into a branch or learn moreOpens in New Window about protecting your identity online at Lafayette Federal.

Not a Lafayette Federal member yet? You can become a member by completing an online membership application, scheduling an appointment or walking into a branch, or scheduling a virtual meeting with a Business Development Officer.

Not a Lafayette Federal member yet? You can become a member by completing an online membership applicationOpens in New Window.
 

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