Don't fall for health insurance scams in NM - Albuquerque Journal

Don’t fall for health insurance scams in NM

Open enrollment for New Mexico’s health insurance marketplace, beWellnm, is underway and runs through Jan. 15, 2023. During this time, New Mexicans can enroll in a quality, affordable health plan that, per the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is guaranteed to cover a full list of benefits, caps out-of-pocket costs, and has an established network of providers. This year, plans through beWellnm are even more affordable thanks to additional discounts at the federal and state level, putting coverage in reach for more New Mexicans.

During open enrollment, predatory companies will also scam hundreds of New Mexicans into junk insurance, leaving them uncovered and at risk of debt. These companies make their profit by impersonating government websites like healthcare.gov or beWellnm.com, convincing consumers that they are selling legitimate ACA plans, or falsely claiming that their plans provide full coverage at a better price.

Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon scenario. Having heard about open enrollment, a New Mexican might open their web browser and type in “affordable health insurance New Mexico.” The first three results are ads for non-government sites claiming to sell quality coverage at low prices. They click on the first link, enter their address and contact information, and receive a call from an agent claiming to be authorized to help them choose a plan. The individual picks a plan, provides credit card information over the phone for $40 a month, and receives an insurance card in the mail. A month later, this person is in an emergency situation for which costly care is immediately necessary. The receptionist comes into the room once the patient is stable with the bad news that their supposed insurance is worthless, and that they will need to pay out of pocket for any care received that day. Not only are they now dealing with the fallout of a medical emergency, but also an astronomical medical bill and no recourse for making a claim.

Health coverage should be considered a necessity. The unfortunate reality is that anyone could end up in a situation where quality coverage is the difference between a manageable cost-sharing payment and life-altering medical debt. Shopping through beWellNM online (bewellnm.com) or over the phone (1-833-862-3935), or through a certified broker or enrollment counselor is the only way to ensure you are purchasing a plan that will actually provide that security.

While shopping for coverage, be wary of unsolicited phone calls, paid advertisements, and any entities other than beWellnm claiming to sell coverage in New Mexico. Always ask for documentation on the plan you’re selecting – know its benefits, network and full cost before purchasing. You may want to check directly with your doctor and pharmacy beforehand to make sure they accept that insurance. If you receive any assistance, make sure to request the person’s name and license number; if they won’t provide it, end your communication immediately.

And if you’ve been scammed into paying for a junk insurance plan, report the incident to the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance by visiting http://www.osi.state.nm.us or calling 855-427-5674. Legal action can be taken against these predatory companies, and your experience will help another New Mexican family avoid falling into a trap.

Don’t waste your money or fall for a scam – only shop through beWellnm this open enrollment.

Home » Opinion » Guest Columns » Don’t fall for health insurance scams in NM

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