Phony health insurance plans on the rise in US


WASHINGTON: Phony health insurers are pocketing millions of dollars in premiums while leaving their victims with huge, unpaid medical bills, according to a report released last Thursday.  

Such scams are on the increase because of rises in legitimate premiums, according to The Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based independent foundation studying health policy that published the report.  

“The United States is experiencing an unprecedented influx of unauthorised insurers selling phony health insurance,” the researchers wrote.  

“Unauthorised health insurance companies intentionally fail to comply with state and federal law regarding insurance regulation; they collect premiums for non-existent health insurance; they do not pay claims and, ultimately, they leave patients with millions of dollars in medical bills,” they added.  

Since 2001, four unauthorised plans left nearly 100,000 people with US$85mil in medical bills. “Most victims have been small businesses and self-employed people,” reads the report, which is on the Internet at http://www.cmwf.org/

“Being victimised by a phony health insurance scam is worse than being uninsured,” Mila Kofman of the Health Policy Institute at Georgetown University, who led the study, said in a statement. “Here, not only are you stuck with huge medical bills, you’ve also been defrauded thousands of dollars in premiums.” 

Kofman and colleagues interviewed state insurance commissioners, insurance regulators, the Employee Benefits Security Administration – part of the US Department of Labour – and other agencies for the report.  

They said Florida was especially hard hit, with 30,000 victims of such scams. The scams exist, they said, because health insurance is expensive and difficult for many people to get. – Reuters 

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Did you find this article insightful?

Yes
No

Next In Business News

TDM says CEO Zainal Abidin resigned over disagreement with chairman�
Petronas posts RM3.4bil net loss in Q3
Boustead appoints former Telekom boss Shazalli Ramly as new Group MD
Public Bank 3Q net profit higher at RM1.39b
CIMB's 3Q pre-tax profit improves sequentially on higher operating income
Kenanga IB profit up tenfold as brokerage, trading income soar
Palm oil’s stunning rally is set to boost supermarket prices
Alliance Bank posts lower 2Q net profit of RM103.94m on higher reserves
Pandemic and travel curbs hit Datasonic Q2 earnings�
Higher net profit for Hong Leong Bank

Stories You'll Enjoy