Most of us have fallen victim to a scam at one point or another. With the Open Enrollment Period happening now through January 15, 2023, it positions many Nevadans searching for insurance as high-risk targets for scams.
It’s important to know that when you are shopping for health insurance, Nevada Health Link is the only certified state-based exchange. Other websites may be disguised as exchanges, but the discount health insurance plan they sell does not meet the federal Qualified Health Plan requirements. Only plans on Nevada Health Link provide the 10 Essential Health Benefits of Qualified Health Plans. Nevada Health Link is the only place Nevadans can qualify for financial assistance to lower the cost of premiums.
Ryan High, executive director of the Silver State Health Exchange, the state agency that manages NevadaHealthLink.com, wants to ensure Nevadans receive the proper quality health care they deserve and offers tips on how to avoid low quality health insurance and scams.
“Discount plans are a legitimate product option but it’s important to know that it is not the same as health insurance and should not be used as a substitute for health insurance,” High said. “They are not illegal or fraudulent, which is why they are allowed to remain running.”
Before settling down with an option, take note of the red flags you may notice as these tips will help you find the right plan.
Read the fine print
NevadaHealthLink.com is the official and only website selling Qualified Health Plans in Nevada.
There are several websites and advertisements that will appear when you search for health insurance and claim to assist people with signing up for insurance; in fact, many scammers use design from Nevada Health Link and official sounding language to further trick you into thinking they are the official state exchange. What these websites offer is discount health insurance plans, which are legitimate products, but typically inadequate in meeting the lifestyle needs or budgets of most Nevadans.
Here are some examples to look out for:
Protect your personal information
These imitation websites will offer cost calculations or plan comparisons but ask you to enter your phone number or email address first. Once they have your contact information, they often will call and text you many times throughout the day. Nevada Health Link does not ask for contact information to browse plans. Be wary about providing your information to any website unless it is NevadaHealthLink.com, a certified enrollment assister, or a person that you reach out to first.
Nevada Health Link’s 700 qualified brokers and 7 navigator entities will never call you unsolicited. You know your broker or navigator and will only be contacted by someone who you have selected to work with.
If someone is calling you and hounding you for information claiming to be a broker, hang up immediately and verify that an individual is certified by Nevada Health Link by calling (800) 547-2927.
If you do accept enrollment assistance from anyone, always keep a record. Write down their name, certification number, phone number, address and organization’s website.
Never pay for enrollment assistance
Free enrollment assistance is provided to all Nevadans shopping on Nevada Health Link. All you have to do is use the Find Assistance tool on NevadaHealthLink.com to locate and research certified agents, brokers, and counselors.
You will be presented with two options, both which are completely free: “Find a Nevada Certified Agent or Broker Near You” OR “Find a Nevada Certified Counselor Near You”. Once you decide what type of assistance you need, you will be directed to a page to enter your zip code and preferred language, and will be connected with a list of brokers or navigators in your area.
But don’t rush to pick a broker/navigator. High said the more time you put into reviewing your options, you’re more likely to find the assistance that best fits your needs.
“Spend some time researching the agents in your area by reading their profiles or visiting their websites to ensure they are a good fit for you,” High said. “You can then select who you’d like as your designated agent and begin the process of getting free enrollment assistance.”
Know what’s covered
All plans on NevadaHealthLink.com are required to include the 10 essential health benefits. Many scam plans are marketing for low-cost premiums, but these are shady plans with limited coverage. Nevada Health Link is the only place Nevadans can qualify for financial assistance to lower the cost of premiums.
Due to large advertising spends, these companies often pop up at the top of the search results, driving customers to their site first.
As we mentioned earlier, there are several sites offering “discount plans”– this is where we see many consumers fall for the low-cost premiums, and end up without actual health insurance coverage.
More advice from High: if you are being marketed for a discounted plan, it’s not recommended as a replacement for health insurance. Discount plans do not always equal low-cost coverage; these plans do not offer health insurance coverage, and are only meant to provide medical discounts, which is why your premium cost will likely be lower.
It’s always good to keep a variety of options open but it must be done safely. Be on your guard against “discount plans” and other red flags so you don’t get duped into a deal you weren’t looking for.
To learn more on how to avoid health insurance scams, see our feature on 8 News Now Las Vegas.