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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > November 2014 > Avoid Falling Victim to Health Insurance Scams

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Avoid Falling Victim to Health Insurance Scams

Planning to make changes to your health insurance? Make sure you don’t stumble into a scam.
Scam artists operate year-round, but during open enrollment periods, when individuals can make changes to their health insurance plans, consumers may be more vulnerable to scams involving insurance or medical products.
One Ohio consumer received a call from someone offering an insurance policy. The caller asked for the consumer’s Social Security number, which the consumer provided. Later the consumer realized the call was a potential scam, and he did not know the name of the company offering the policy. 
Another consumer received a phone call that was displayed as an “alert.” Thinking it was a weather alert or Amber Alert, the consumer picked up. It was a recorded call that prompted the consumer to press a button to contact his health insurance company about authorization for a pain relief product. The consumer hung up the phone, finding the call deceptive.
An unexpected request for personal information, such as your Social Security number, Medicare number, or credit card information, is usually a sign of a scam. Rather than providing information over the phone, ask for written information or hang up and contact an organization using a phone number you know to be legitimate.
If you want to contact a government agency or insurance provider online to learn about your options, make sure you reach the organization’s official website. For government information, official websites include,, and (Look for the “.gov” at the end of the web address.)
Look out for websites that have similar but different names than official websites. These websites may show up when you perform an Internet search for a government agency or insurance provider, but in some cases the websites are operated by scam artists or other untrustworthy organizations.
Watch for signs of a scam including:
  • Unexpected requests for your personal information.
  • Someone who says you must act immediately.
  • Claims that new Medicare or insurance cards are being issued.
  • Telemarketing calls that violate the Do Not Call Registry.
  • Automated or “robo-calls” offering insurance plans or medical products.
To avoid potential health insurance scams, follow these tips:
  • Guard your personal information.
  • Don’t respond to unexpected or suspicious phone calls.
  • Never pay fees for help to understand your insurance options.
  • Make sure your security software is up to date to help protect yourself online.
  • Use a phishing filter if possible. A phishing filter works to detect whether a browser is going or about to go to an illegitimate website address.
  • When in doubt, don’t click on links or attachments contained in emails.
  • Check out an insurance agent or navigator with the Ohio Department of Insurance before giving out personal information.
  • If you receive any suspicious calls claiming to be from a government agency or health insurance provider, hang up and dial the agency or insurer using a phone number you know is legitimate.
  • Don’t trust callers who claim new Medicare or insurance cards are being issued and you must provide your information.
Ohioans who want help detecting a potential scam should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 800-282-0515 or For insurance information, contact the Ohio Department of Insurance at 800-686-1526 or