Entrepreneurs Beware

Faced with high health insurance costs, many entrepreneurs and small business owners are turning to the services of health insurance plan promoters to establish affordable health insurance plans for themselves and their employees. However, the U.S. Department of Labor and other state-based oversight agencies are finding that many such health insurance promoters are nothing better than scam artists. Currently, these health insurance promoters are responsible for hundreds of millions in unpaid health insurance claims nationwide.

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Health insurance promoters often use materials that closely resemble materials used by legitimate health insurance companies and throw around well-known corporate names. While these health insurance plans will often pay for small claims, larger claims are ignored, and any attempt to shut down the health insurance promoter results in them simply closing up shop and reopening under a new name and in a new location.

The U.S. Department of Labor is currently considering a plan to consolidate small business claims through association health plans, which will allow small businesses to pool employees and thus be in a position to afford group plans from legitimate health insurance companies, although such a plan will only be part of a complete solution to the health insurance promoter scam issue. In order to avoid being scammed, be sure that you compare costs and coverages when choosing a health insurance provider: one company offering the same coverage for a drastically lower price should be a red flag. Requesting references from the health insurance provider is another smart move.

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