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Don’t Buy Insurance over the Phone!

Several days ago I received an irate call from a gentleman calling my office in Florida from Pennsylvania. It appears he bought health insurance over the phone back in February 2014, from a scammer using my name indicating scammer was calling from Florida. My irate caller, who sounded as if he were in his 40’s, said he had been paying $250.00 per month premiums via automatic checking account drafts since February. When he recently tried to use his over-the-phone health insurance …guess what? You are correct…his insurance is bogus.

Here’s a little tutorial: The several states regulate insurance, issue licenses to insurance companies and their agents to sell insurance products which must have been approved by the state in question prior to the sale. Should an insurance agent wish to sell insurance in every state he/she must apply to every state and meet their education/training and other requirements. Qualifying to sell insurance in every state means owning and qualifying for fifty (50) insurance agent licenses. A health insurance agent licensed in Florida must obtain a Pennsylvania non-resident agent’s license before attempting to sell health insurance in PA…and that agent may sell only insurance plans approved for sale in PA. If an insurance agent fails to act within a state’s insurance laws and their regulations, that agent will receive a visit from a guy carrying a badge and a gun…may be fined, lose his/her license, and may face jail time. Robbing banks is much more efficient than scamming people with phoney insurance schemes…but the low-lifes are always out there somewhere.

I fear my Pennsylvania caller will never recover his cash wasted on bogus insurance premiums…and will be forced to pay his medical bills out of pocket…PLUS, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is lurking in the shadows. Should my called not be able to prove to the IRS that he owned credible health insurance this year he may be hit with the ACA penalty “Tax”. ( Tax is in quotes because it was originally an Un-Constutional fee before Chief Justice John Roberts turned into a tax in order to make it fit the Constution, thus ensuring he would continue to be invited to Washington, DC’s insider cocktail parties.)

But I digress…Long story short, don’t buy insurance, and most anything else, over the phone from someone you have never met and whom you cannot vet…and do not hesitate to ask to see an insurance agent’s license. He/she will carry it with them just as a driver’s license.

Carpe Diem