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Fake health insurance a concern

Fake health insurance a concern
NASHVILLE — As health insurance continues to be a valuable product, people who would sell fraudulent health insurance continue to be a risk to consumers. The Department of Commerce and Insurance wants Tennesseans to make informed choices and avoid being swindled.
Unlicensed companies defraud consumers by collecting premiums for bogus insurance policies with no intention of paying claims. These companies might offer policies at costs that are significantly lower than licensed and legitimate insurance companies’ prices or they might be difficult to reach by phone — if they are listed in phone directories at all. Consumers should check that they are dealing with a legitimate, licensed insurer before signing up for a policy.
“Companies that are not licensed by the state to sell insurance might lead consumers to think they are operating legitimately, all while attempting to evade state insurance regulations,” TDCI Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak said. “A company selling a health discount plan, for example, might call its product insurance when it is neither regulated nor insurance.”
The following are some tips to protect against fake health insurance:
• Ask hard questions and do your homework. Always read all materials and scrutinize websites carefully. Coverage that boasts low rates and minimal or no underwriting should be a signal for consumers to increase their scrutiny of the product.
• Treat ads for insurance via spam emails or blast fax with skepticism. 
• Make sure your insurance agent is selling a state-licensed insurance product. You can contact TDCI at, (615) 741-2218 or (800) 342-4029 to verify.
• Deal with reputable agents. If the person trying to sell you coverage says he or she doesn’t need a license because the coverage isn’t insurance or is exempt from regulation, watch out.
• Also, in case you are an employee of a company selling products and want to make sure your practices and products are compliant with state law, email or call (615) 741-2218 or (800) 342-4029.
The Department of Commerce and Insurance works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee., @TNCommerceInsur (Twitter), (Facebook), (YouTube).
Published in The Messenger 6.12.12

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