Scam Alert_2Indianapolis – The Indiana Department of Insurance warns Hoosiers not to fall prey to high-pressure telemarketers selling short-term health insurance products that are not compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Be aware that these telemarketers will make promises they cannot deliver and you, the consumer, will suffer the penalty.

The Indiana Department of Insurance offers the following very important points to help keep you from becoming a victim of fraud from one of these telemarketing scammers:

  • The open enrollment period for the 2016 health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act ended January 31. The next open enrollment period will run November 1, 2016—January 31, 2017.
  • There is no special “state enrollment period” for individual health insurance. Anyone offering insurance plans through an “enrollment period” outside of open enrollment is not selling an ACA-compliant policy unless you have experienced a life event that would qualify you for a “special enrollment period.”
  • No one offering ACA-compliant health care coverage will ask you if you have a pre-existing condition.
  • Be wary of telemarketers from the “national enrollment center,” “national healthcare center,” or other “official-sounding” name. The federal government will not call you to sell you health insurance.
  • Do not provide anyone your bank account or health information, or agree to any request to send money over the phone. If you are being pressured to provide this information, hang up.
  • Only purchase insurance from a licensed agent or through a certified Navigator. Do not be afraid to ask an agent for their license number and if they are licensed in Indiana. If they refuse, hang up.
  • If you receive a sales call from someone selling health insurance, ask the caller to email or send you information about the policy, including premiums. If they refuse, hang up.

Keep in mind, in order to be eligible for a coverage exemption from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), you and each member of your family must do one of the following:

  • Have qualifying health coverage called Minimum Essential Coverage
  • Qualify for a health coverage exemption
  • Make a shared responsibility payment with your federal income tax return for the months that you did not have coverage or an exemption

The penalty for not having an ACA compliant plan in 2016 is $695 per adult and $347.50 per child (up to $2,085 for a family), or 2.5% of your household income above the tax return filing threshold for your filing status – whichever is greater.

To avoid the penalty, you must obtain health coverage that is Minimum Essential Coverage. Check the IRS Minimum Essential Coverage Chart to make sure your coverage qualifies.

The Indiana Department of Insurance (IDOI) protects Indiana’s insurance consumers by monitoring and regulating the financial strengths and market conduct activities of insurance companies and agents. The IDOI monitors insurance companies and agents for compliance with state laws to protect consumers and to offer them the best array of insurance products available. The IDOI also assists Hoosiers with insurance questions and provides guidance in understanding how insurance policies work.