Scams and fraud are an unfortunate reality, especially in the insurance world.
No health agent wants to receive a panicked call from a client relaying they fell victim to an insurance scam. Luckily, awareness and preparedness are weapons for prevention, and you can provide your clients with both!
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Let’s take a look at how you can help your health insurance clients avoid scams.
Be Aware of Insurance Scam Tactics
Before we dive into our tips, here’s a suggestion of something you can to do help your clients avoid insurance scams — stay in the know! Sadly, there’s always news circulating about the latest medical and insurance scam attempts and schemes. So, check out the news, insurance forums, and carrier or FMO correspondence and look out for fraud attempts targeting Medicare and health insurance beneficiaries, like genetic testing scams and phone scams. Being aware of this information can help you too, as scammers will target anyone.
As an insurance agent, your job is to look out for the best interest of your clients, even after sales are closed.
If you become aware of a scam tactic and think your clients could be at risk, send out emails, make follow-up calls, or put it in your next newsletter to give them a heads up. Share informative blog posts on how to spot Medicare fraud and abuse, the telltale signs of scams to look for, and what to do if you’re targeted by scammers. As an insurance agent, your job is to look out for the best interest of your clients, even after sales are closed.
Tips For Health Insurance Scam Prevention
Now, here are our three simple tips to give clients to help keep them from getting caught in a scary health insurance scam.
1. Protect Medicare and Social Security Information
All personal information should be protected, especially Medicare and Social Security information. Tell clients to never give out their Medicare or Social Security number or information to anyone they don’t have a prior professional relationship with, especially over the phone or through text or email. Medicare.gov advises beneficiaries to “only give your Medicare Number to doctors, pharmacists, other health care providers, your insurers, or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf.” Make it clear that it’s not rude to say “no” to requests for this information. Protecting oneself and avoiding a potential scam is more important than someone’s feelings.
It’s not rude to say “no” to requests for personal information.
Medicare cards also need to be looked after with great care — as much care as a license or credit card. If a client reaches out to you fretting over a lost or potentially stolen Medicare card, advise them to request a new one and report it as stolen, if needed. Provide them with the necessary steps and contacts. Lastly, tell your client to give careful review to their Medicare Explanations of Benefits (EOBs). This document is typically sent out monthly and lists what health services were provided, and the amount both Medicare and the beneficiary are to pay. If anything listed was not received or asked for by your client, advise they report it and help them do so.
2. Be Wary of Who Is Calling and Why
Scams by phone are, unfortunately, a common occurrence these days. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the phone is still the most popular way scammers reach potential victims, by calls and texts.
Medicare will never call a beneficiary asking for personal information.
It’s important to note that Medicare will never call a beneficiary uninvited and ask for personal information, but some scam callers are cunning and believable. They will often ask for the information in order to “activate a card or account.” Scammers also try to scare their victims into releasing information by making false claims of potential policy termination or threatening high monetary charges. Texts pose another threat, as they can contain fraudulent links to webpages that can look very convincing.
Instruct clients to never interact with calls or texts from anyone requesting personal information. If they do find themselves in this situation, they should stay calm, immediately discontinue the contact, and report it. You’re also a great resource for your clients, so let them know they can reach out to you for advice and assistance!
3. “Free” Always Comes with a Catch
Think about this type of situation: Someone approaches you and says, “I’ll give you this pill organizer for free if you provide me with your contact information.” If you must provide your info, then is it really free?
Scammers can do a lot of damage with minimal information.
No matter how appealing the freebie is that’s offered, you should always advise your clients to decline. Even if all that’s asked for is their name and phone number, it’s in your clients’ best interest, and yours as their agent, that they say, “No, thank you.” Scammers can do a lot of damage with minimal information, and you don’t want your clients’ info in the hands of another agent, either. So, to sum it up, make sure you let your clients know that “free” is too good to be true.
Hopefully these tips can help your clients, and even you, avoid insurance scams. Just remember that you are the best resource for your clients, and Ritter can be the best resource for you. As your FMO, we can help you watch out for scams and fraud happening within the industry, give you the tools necessary to keep in touch with your clients, and grow your business. Register with RitterIM.com for free today, and we’ll all do our part to keep those around us insurance scam- and fraud-free!