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L.A. Woman Says She Is Victim Of Insurance Scam

KCBS TV-2 LOS ANGELES, CA
http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2017/01/26/l-a-woman-says-she-is-victim-of-insurance-scam/

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Mid-City woman said she was duped by an insurance company that sold her junk insurance.

A year and a half ago, DeeAnn Davis lost her health insurance along with her job. “The Cobra insurance they extended was $900 a month. So I had to search for my own policy,” she said.

So Davis called the 800 number listed on the Covered California website.

She found a PPO plan that cost less than $400 a month. “I knew it wasn’t a top-notch plan but didn’t think it was a no-coverage plan, or that it wasn’t real insurance,” Davis said.

She said she discovered she was duped when she became gravely ill last month and called the company that sold her the insurance.

She said she was shocked to learn that her insurance would only cover emergency-room visits only if she was in an accident.

“If it doesn’t cover when you get sick, then what is it that you’re paying for?” Davis asked.

When her fever spiked to 103 degrees, and her blood pressure plummeted, her friend insisted that she go to the emergency room.

“I couldn’t sit up straight. I couldn’t walk,” she recalled.

So the 46-year-old was admitted. “I just remembered crying wondering: Do I leave? Because I don’t know if I can afford this. Or am I really sick? Or do I stay?”

Four days later, Davis went home after her condition stabilized.

Then the hospital called. “They wanted to inform me that my insurance only covered $250 a day, and that my bill was in excess of $30,000,” Davis explained. “They wanted to know how I was going to make arrangements to pay for it.”

The freelance advertising executive was stunned. “That’s a huge amount of money. It kind of just takes your breath away,” she said as she held back tears.

Jerry Flanagan, Consumer Watchdog‘s Litigation Director, said Davis was sold junk insurance.

“DeeAnn was taken advantage of by a fraudulent company, fishing on the internet for unknown consumers who are looking for Covered California,” he said.

“By selling this coverage as a PPO insurance plan, the company was committing fraud,” Flanagan explained.

He said Consumer Watchdog plans to sue the company that calls itself US Health Group: America’s Trusted Choice, based out of Fort Worth, Texas as listed on its website.

Not only does Davis owe $31,010.61 as a result of her hospital visit, she has to pay a penalty because her old plan with US Health Group was not legally considered insurance.

Expect more cases of junk insurance if the new administration allows insurance to be sold across state lines, Consumer Watchdog warned.

US Health Group sent a statement saying what Davis had was “supplemental” insurance, and that a customer service agent will be reaching out to her about her hospital bill.