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Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services Warns Michiganders About Health Insurance Scams During the Special Enrollment Period
March 30, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 30, 2021
(LANSING, MICH) With the Health Insurance Marketplace special enrollment period recently extended to Aug. 15, the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is warning consumers to watch out for health insurance fraud and the promotion of fake health insurance policies in order to steal private information.
“The Special Enrollment Period is an important opportunity for Michiganders who need health coverage, but we are getting reports that criminals are taking advantage of consumers by purporting to sell fake policies and stealing personal information,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “It is important that consumers safely get the information and health coverage they need, while protecting themselves from fraud and unintended disclosure of their personal information.”
To protect themselves and their families from health insurance scams, consumers are encouraged to follow these four tips:
- Be Informed: Consumers should research health insurance basics and carefully compare plans before making a selection, whether on HealthCare.gov or direct from an insurer.
- Protect your personal information: Consumers should never give out financial or health information, such as banking, credit card, account numbers, or medical history, to someone who calls or comes to their home uninvited, even if they claim to be from the “government” or that they represent “Bidencare”. Representatives from the Marketplace may reach out after consumers enroll in a health plan, but they will never ask for the personal health or financial information listed above. Consumers who receive a call from the Marketplace can request that a letter to be mailed to them instead of answering questions over the telephone.
- Work with qualified assisters and verify what they say: Free, local assisters are available to help consumers enroll in coverage. Consumers should write down the name and contact information of the person who assists them and ask questions if they do not understand what is being said. Consumers can verify information and find a certified assister by visiting HealthCare.gov or by calling the Marketplace at 800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325).
- Report anything suspicious: If something doesn’t feel right, consumers are encouraged to call DIFS at 877-999-6442 or report the suspected fraud on the DIFS website. Suspected insurance fraud can be reported safely, easily, and in most cases anonymously.
“Insurance scam artists are becoming increasingly sophisticated in how they commit their crimes,” said Fox. “DIFS is working hard to crack down on these criminals. If a consumer thinks something or someone seems suspicious, we strongly encourage them to contact us to verify that the company or person they are speaking with is licensed by DIFS.”
DIFS can help consumers with health insurance questions and complaints and can provide information about the Health Insurance Marketplace special enrollment period that is open through Aug. 15. For more information, including a schedule of upcoming DIFS and MDHHS free virtual health insurance town halls, consumers should visit Michigan.gov/HealthInsurance or call 877-999-6442 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DIFS or follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.