AAHP-HIAA Note Plan to Battle Unlicensed Scams

March 3, 2004

AAHP-HIAA President and CEO Karen Ignagni responded to the report issued Wednesday by the General Accounting Office
(GAO) on the increase in unlicensed entities selling bogus health insurance:

“AAHP-HIAA commends the GAO and Senator Grassley for shining a spotlight on the problem of phony health insurance plans being offered by unlicensed scam artists to consumers and small employers. The sale of bogus insurance is a long-time concern of our member companies because it exposes unsuspecting consumers to devastating medical bills and because it too often leaves health care providers stuck with unpaid claims.

“Today, we are announcing a three-part initiative to address the problem of the sale of health insurance by unlicensed companies. First, we will launch a broad public information campaign, including the production and distribution of a public service announcement, to help consumers better understand the threat posed by bogus health insurance. We believe an informed consumer is ultimately the best defense against these sophisticated white- collar criminals.

“Second, we renew our call on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to create a national on-line database of licensed health insurance companies accessible by consumers, employers and health insurance agents, so that anyone can easily check the legitimacy of a company offering to sell a health insurance product. We have been working for several years
with consumers, regulators and other stakeholders to accomplish this goal. We believe several workable options exist for implementing such a database. It is time for health insurers and plans and other stakeholders to redouble our efforts to make this a reality as quickly as possible.

“Finally, we are forming a special task force within the association to guide these efforts, and to explore other strategies that can be employed to expose these abuses and arm the consumer with more information.”

AAHP-HIAA is a national trade association representing nearly 1,300 member companies providing health benefits to more than 200 million Americans.

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