Retiring to Florida can be a dream come true for some, a goal they saved their whole life to achieve. If you are one of the millions who have retired to the Sunshine State, or you know someone who has, you or they must be aware of the health insurance scams that are prevalent here. Scams that target retirees is nothing new in Florida. You don’t want to awake from an emergency like a stroke or heart attack to find that your health insurance is not valid. Sometimes scammers will sell a policy that turns out to be nothing more than a discount card. It is a scary prospect if you are a retiree or if your parents have retired and could fall prey to such predatorial schemes. Don’t count on getting your money back if it goes to a fake insurance policy; scammers are notoriously good at pulling up stakes and vanishing. So, how can you protect yourself or a loved one from scams that target retirees? Here are a few ways.
If it Sounds Too Good to be True or Suspicious, it is a Scam.
Be cautious of any insurance plan that says it covers 100% of costs, and the price does not reflect what the policy offers. In contrast, if someone contacts you and tells you it is the law that you must have health insurance. There is no such law, hang up on them or delete their email and block them.
With the above examples, keep in mind health insurance scams are almost always done over the phone or via email. Scammers will never meet you face to face so they can’t be identified or have a location that police can easily find. Be wary of a company you have never heard of before calling or emailing you about health insurance policies. If you are interested in a plan, ask to meet an agent face to face at their office. If it is a legitimate health insurance agency, they will have a brick and mortar location. Chances are if it is a scammer, telling them the only way you will buy a policy is if you meet in person, that will end the phone call immediately. The same thing applies to email, if they are not legitimate, telling them you want to meet in person will likely end the conversation. If they do agree to meet, Google their address to see if they are actually an insurance company. Use sites like Yelp to see if they have scammed others. If you go to meet someone you spoke with over the phone, make sure you take someone with you and never go to a residence or isolated location.
Don’t be Aggressive.
If the person you are conversing with over the phone is aggressively trying to sell you an insurance plan, you can count on it being a scam. Legitimate health insurance companies are customer service oriented and will never pressure someone into purchasing a policy.
Only the Lonely.
Retirees who have lost a spouse are especially vulnerable to health insurance scams. The scammer calling them will ask about the retiree’s personal life and share information about theirs. This scam is an old and very effective method of scamming a lonely retiree. In order to keep the conversations going, the retiree will often purchase a policy from the scammer, even knowing it could be a scam. If you have a retired parent who lives alone, make sure to spend time with them, so they are not lonely, and so that they won’t be victims of this kind of insidious scam.
The ERISA Scams.
If you ask a scammer who their company is licensed with, it will never be with ERISA (employee retirement income act) it would be the same as if they said they were licensed by Obamacare. In Florida, a stringent process is required to sell health insurance which is controlled by the Florida Department of Financial Services.
Data Mining Scams.
Never, ever, give out your social security number over the phone or in an email that you do not know who is it is with you are corresponding. Never give personal financial information, passwords to sites, or other sensitive information.
While scammers are as plentiful as the alligators who, like the scammers, will bite you if you are not careful; all it takes is due diligence to avoid being scammed over health insurance.
If you need help with obtaining health insurance or want a review of your policy, contact us or call 239-770-1576 and we will be more than happy to help you.