How to Stop Health Insurance Sales Calls After Using eHealth.com

If you went online looking for health insurance, and you entered you phone number on a website, such as eHealth.com, don't be surprised if you are then bombarded by spam calls from telemarketers selling health insurance.  As far as we can see, from our own personal experiences, eHealth makes your phone number to just about anyone.  A few of the callers are legitimate insurance companies. 

So, here's what you need to know:

  1. Who are the callers
  2. How can you stop them
  3. Numbers for legitimate health insurance companies
  4. Numbers identified with scammers and spammers

Who are the callers?

Insurance brokers

The vast majority are the worst kind of telemarketers selling healthcare policies that they resell.  In other words, they are calls from health insurance brokers who simply resell plans from insurance companies. No matter how convincing they sound, trust us, they have nothing better than what you can get yourself by contacting the health insurance companies (like Human, Cigna, BlueCross/Blue Shield Anthem, etc.) yourself.  In fact, they are worse, since they bundle and package policies and add ons that you don't need or want, and drive up the overall cost.

Worst still, most of their plans are simply worthless. They aren't true insurance at all, but "cost savings" plans, like negotiated prices.  These have no value to all but a very, very few people..

They will call you at all hours of the day and night, and the same numbers will call repeatedly.  They often call and say nothing, then hang up after a minute.  Or, the same person calls and asks the same questions all over again. .

Insurance Scammers

Some of the robocalls claim be about health insurance and the Health Insurance Marketplace, but the calls were a scam. The callers were fishing (called phishing) for personal information. The legitimate Healthcare Marketplace doesn’t make cold calls, (they only return calls with established clients) and they never ask for personal information. If you get a call like this, hang up.

Many of the phone numbers showed up with a local area code. The recorded message sounds urgent: “You need to buy health insurance or face a fine. To learn more, press 1.” According to reports from the FTC, a person who works in the Health Insurance Marketplace got the call and knew it was fishy, so she pressed 1. The operator claimed to ‘work with the law,’ and asked for the person’s full name, date of birth, phone number, income information and Social Security number. The person who got the call knew it was a scam, so she hung up and contacted the FTC.

If you get a recorded sales call, but you didn’t give the caller written permission to call you, the call is illegal. Don’t press 1 to speak to the operator or get your name taken off the list, and don’t give any personal information. If you respond, you’ll probably get more calls. If you want information about health insurance in your state, visit call the insurance companies (numbers below) directly or go to www.HealthCare.gov. If you get a call like this, please report it to the FTC

How to stop the calls

Obviously, you want to stop the calls and prevent this from happening again. Here's what you do:

  1. Get a call screening / call blocking app on your phone.  These apps check each call as it comes in and compare the number against numbers reported as being from scammers and spammers, and tell you about the caller before you answer.  you can then choose to take the call, reject it or block it. See this page about these apps.
  2. Add each number/caller to your phone's Auto-Reject list. Your phone can automatically block the calls from coming in.
    On Android phones, after receiving  a call from a telemarketer, select the number in your recent calls list, as if you are going to dial it, then press the three vertical dots in the top right part of the screen. You should see "Add to Auto reject list". Press it.  To remove a number from the reject list, just repeat the process.
    For more detailed instructions and other options for your Android phone, see this page.
    On iPhones,
    See this page for iPhone call blocking directions
  3. Register you phone number on the National Do-Not-Call List
    Click here
  4. Finally, do NOT enter your phone number on any website (except for .gov websites and those you trust, like Amazon.com or your own real insurance provider).  If you want to use a website like eHealth.com, enter a made up phone number, and create a free Gmail account and use that email.  That way, you contain all contact from them to that one free email account.

File a Complaint with the FTC

If you receive telemarketing calls after your phone number has been in the national registry for 31 days, you can file a complaint using the same website and phone numbers. To file a complaint, provide the date of the telemarketing call, phone number, and name of the company that called you. The Federal Trade Commission advises that it is not necessary to register cell phone numbers on the DNC registry despite email claims circulating on the internet telling you to do so. You may also file a complaint if you receive a call that used a recorded message instead of a live person, even if your phone number is not on the registry.

To file a complaint of junk calls from telemarketers, click here

 

Legitimate Health Insurance Companies

If you are looking for health insurance, go directly to the providers website or call them:

  • Cigna -
    If you get your insurance through your employer, call 1.800.Cigna24 or 1.800.244.6224
    If you bought your insurance directly from Cigna or on the Exchange, call 1.866.494.2111
  • Humana -
    Individual & Family Insurance 1-800-833-6917
    Medicare 1-800-457-4708
    Dental/ Vision Insurance 1-877-877-1051
    Insurance through Employers 1-800-448-6262
  • Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield - 888-630-2583.
  • Kaiser Permanente - (800) 255-5169

 

And last, and definitely least, since they usually have the worst prices, is "Obama Care".  If they are your only option, here is their contact info:

  • Healthcare.gov (ACA, the so-called "Affordable" Care act, also known as "ObamaCare) - 800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325)

 

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