November 2, 2021
by Jim Kreidler
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC
The 2022 health insurance open enrollment season is here (November 1 – December 15). So now is the time to think about changes to your health coverage. But before you do, make sure any plan you’re considering actually gives you the coverage you seek. Dishonest companies sometimes market medical discount plans or health plans with limited insurance benefits, as comprehensive health insurance. And sometimes they just lie about the “health plans” they offer.
Medical discount plans charge you a monthly fee for discounts on specific medical services or products (like hearing or dental) from participating providers. Some medical discount plans give legitimate discounts, but others are just scams.
Health plans with limited insurance benefits (sometimes offered with association memberships) typically don’t cover, or offer very limited coverage for, catastrophic events. So you might find that things like medical emergencies and major injuries and illnesses aren’t covered — not something you want to discover when you’re sitting in the emergency room. They offer very little, if any, help with expensive medical bills.
So how can you be sure you’re getting a plan with the insurance coverage you need?
Check quality ratings at HealthCare.gov.
- Check out the quality ratings to see how plans compare to others in your state, based on member experience, medical care, and health plan administration. Get information, compare plans, and enroll at HealthCare.gov.
- Or sign up for a plan directly through several certified partners.
Look at the health care marketplace in your state and get free help.
- Use the local assistance tool to find a list of people and organizations in your community who can help you — for free. Call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 to ask a question, start or finish an application, meet in person, compare plans, or enroll.
And remember, if you spot a scam, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. The more we hear from you, the more we can help fight scams. If the scam is Medicare related, report it at 1-800-MEDICARE.