In this digital age, communication is a lot easier and it’s a lot easier for someone to fake who they are. We recommend always working with a licensed insurance professional. Below is a list of information that is important to know and be aware of when shopping for health insurance.
How To Avoid Scams and Pushy Sales People
The easiest way to avoid being taken advantage of is to work with a reputable agent. Unfortunately with health insurance, there are fewer and fewer local agents you can work with in person face to face. A lot of the industry has been consolidated into large enrollment centers. There are still single agents and small firms out there; but often only offer limited choices for health plans. The enrollment centers that we work with are filled with only licensed and certified enrollment agents who are specially trained to provide the best assistance to you and have the ability to shop 100+ A-rated carriers across the country.
Be Aware of…
- Marketing Websites: Be aware of websites that gather your information for the sole purpose of selling your info to third parties. These are marketing websites. Even though they might be completely legit from a legal perspective, you will end of being annoyed by hundreds of phone calls and emails. These phone calls and emails don’t come from just one source, they come from anyone and everyone that your information was sold to; which makes it very difficult to request them to stop calling. Some of these people contacting you might be fine individuals and agents around the country, but others might be pushy, rude, and only trying to sell you what they make the most commission.
- Additional Fees: Be aware of unnecessary fees added to your health insurance costs. How do you know if a fee is unnecessary? Ask the agent who is helping you to explain the costs of the insurance. By law they have to disclose what the charges are. Some health insurance policies do have small monthly fees that are often built into the pricing already while others might have additional fees that get itemized for you. If the fee is directly related to the policy, it might be hard or impossible to avoid. Some policies will have a legitimate enrollment fee, however these usually range from $20 to $40 and will be added to the first month payment as a one-time fee. These legitimate enrollment fees are something that the health insurance company charges and there is usually a reason or additional benefit (such as an “association”) that is part of the plan. What you want to avoid are plans or agents trying to charge you excessive enrollment fees in addition to the cost of your health insurance. These excessive fees are often called a “broker fee” and are technically not required, but are charged to you at the discretion of the agent or broker to try to increase their commission. Not all agents charge these additional fees that go directly in their pocket. We advise you to only work with agents and brokers who don’t charge broker fees or other discretionary fees unrelated to those required for the health insurance.
- Pushy Sales People: If you feel uncomfortable or feel an agent is too pushy, you are not required to work with them. We have many representatives that you can work with at no additional cost to you that are patient and willing to help you. Be aware of sales agents who are trying to push you to one particular product. They might have a motive for being pushy. That product might be the only one they are able to offer you based on their licenses and contracts. It also might just be the product that makes them the most commission. If they are pushing you to a product that is only best for their interest and isn’t the best for you, then they are violating their fiduciary responsibility and doing something illegal.
- False Sense of Urgency: Be aware of agents being overly pushy and telling you that you have to buy right now. In some situations, timing does play a roll in enrolling into health insurance; if you are up against a deadline then you might need to make a decision right away. What you want to avoid is a sales agent lying to you and giving you a false sense of urgency. The most common false sense of urgency will be about a price change. Prices do change from time to time. However, we advise you to avoid a sales agent claiming they are able to give you a “deal” today, but can’t tomorrow. There are no such thing as “deals” or special prices in the health insurance industry. All prices are on file with the state insurance commissioners and the sales agents have no control over it.