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Health 101

To avoid being the victim of yet another health insurance scam the Arizona Department of Insurance has provided a nice little tip sheet for consumers when shopping for health insurance.  This page will also serve as a table of contents for our Arizona Health Insurance Education which will include Arizona health insurance law information and various other miscellaneous Arizona health insurance articles.  We needed a section to put all the fun stuff so this is it.

2910 N. 44th Street, Ste. 210 ~ Phoenix, AZ 85018 (602) 364-2499 ~ www.id.state.az.us

Ways to Avoid Being a Victim of Phony Insurance

The best protection is prevention! You wouldn’t choose a nursing home or hire a builder without doing some homework…the same applies to insurance! · Verify before you buy! Check the validityof the insurance company and agent by contacting the Department of Insurance:

www.id.state.az.us or (602) 364-2499 or (800) 325-2548 outside Phoenix
(Check the exact insurance company name being used — scam companies often use names similar to legitimate insurance companies).

Warning signs!

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!”
Proceed cautiously if…
You get a quote that is noticeably lower than ones you’ve previously received. You receive an unsolicited offer, quote or advertisement by fax, phone, email or mail. You’re told there is “no underwriting” or they “take all applicants”, or if they do not ask you any questions about your current health status or prior claims experience. You’re told the advertised price “expires” or is for a “limited time only.” No physical address, phone numbers, or names of company officers appear on website or literature. The alleged insurer’s name is similar to that of another well-known insurance company. You’re told “This insurance is not regulated by the State” or “This is not insurance,” but it sounds like insurance!

· Fake insurance comes in all types: health, boat,
medical malpractice, surety, business and professional liability, long term care. It is marketed to all types of people and businesses.

· Don’t let slick looking websites, business cards,
“official” forms, and marketing materials persuade you that an insurance entity is legitimate.

· Review documentation carefully–make sure it
looks “original”, not photocopied; look for a seal and authentic signatures.

· If the paperwork looks suspicious, contact the
insurance company listed to verify that a policy was issued and call the Department of Insurance to verify licensure.

· Research the insurer: contact the BBB, the
Corporation Commission, and the U.S. Department of Labor; get financial ratings from AM Best and other financial rating services; ask the Department of Insurance for complaint figures and financial information.

· Check out websites: Is there a physical address?
Are there names of company officers? Are there valid phone numbers? Is there a way for you to contact the company besides email? Don’t settle for a P.O. Box, voice mail or email. pay with a check or credit card.

· Ask questions, keep notes about who you spoke to and when, keep copies of documents, and always · Research “Discount” health plans and cards carefully. They are not insurance and typically not government regulated. “Discount” plans have been the subject of many nationwide fraud allegations.
October 2007