The Virginia Bureau of Insurance recently issued a warning to Virginia residents to beware of high-pressure telemarketers selling short-term or limited benefit health insurance policies.
We could not agree more.
If you’re shopping for individual/family health insurance between February and November, be careful! These months fall outside open enrollment — the set time each year when anyone can buy Affordable Care Act (ACA)-compliant health insurance, for any reason.
Unless you have experienced a qualifying life event, you cannot buy ACA-compliant health insurance outside of open enrollment.
What to Watch For
If you find yourself needing health insurance outside of open enrollment and you have not had a qualifying event, we do recommend short-term coverage. It is absolutely better than no coverage at all!
But to avoid being scammed, make sure you understand a few key points:
- Short-term health plans are not ACA-compliant. This means they are not subject to ACA rules and therefore:
- they are subject to medical underwriting and are not guaranteed issue; you can be denied coverage.
- they do not cover pre-existing conditions.
- they are not required to provide coverage for the 10 essential health benefits.
- they can place dollar limits on benefits.
- they do not satisfy the legal requirement to have health insurance. This means you may be subject to a tax penalty.
- If a telemarketer claims to be from the “national enrollment center,” “national healthcare center,” or other official-sounding name, hang up! The federal government will not call to sell you health insurance.
- If someone asks you about pre-existing conditions, they are not talking about ACA-compliant coverage.
- Always buy health insurance through a licensed agent. At Virginia Medical Plans, our agents are fully licensed and we never make cold calls. And, there is never a charge for our services.
- If you have not had a qualifying event, remember, you cannot buy an ACA-compliant policy outside of open enrollment.
- If you have any doubt, do your homework! Visit the Bureau of Insurance website for a list of carriers approved to offer ACA-compliant health plans to individuals in Virginia. The Consumer Services Section of the Virginia Bureau of Insurance’s Life and Health Division is another great resource and can be reached at 1-800-552-7945.
Virginia Medical Plans Can Help
The Affordable Care Act has made buying health insurance more complicated. And that means more opportunity for scammers. Don’t get caught! Make sure you understand your options.
At Virginia Medical Plans, our goal is to help you make the most informed decision possible. We do this through education and guidance.
We have been a trusted source for insurance in Virginia for 25 years.
Please give us a call if we can help in any way! Our phone number is 703-707-8270.