Google cracks down on insurance advertisements posted on search engine

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Google is requiring health insurers to certify they are required to sell health plans as part of a broader crackdown on fraudulent ads. (achinthamb/Shutterstock)

Starting next month, Google will require health insurers to apply for certification for their ads to run on the search engine.

The tech giant announced Tuesday that it will only allow insurance ads from certified government exchanges, first-party providers and licensed third-party brokers.

“In order to run ads, advertisers will need to provide documentation showing they are permitted under state law to sell health insurance,” Google said in a blog post.

Google wants advertisers to apply for certification starting on May 3 and running through June 2. Any advertiser that does not complete certification will not be able to post their ads.

The documentation requirement applies to plans sold on the individual market, short-term plans and Medicare. Any private-sector providers that are promoting “Affordable Care Act-compliant health plans” must also prove they are registered with the U.S. government, Google added.

Google installed a similar certification program for online pharmacies to limit ads for prescription drug sales. It also restricted any ads for government services like passport renewals, delegated third-party entities or the government itself.

“This new certification creates an additional layer of protection on top of our longstanding misrepresentation policies which prohibit advertisements with misleading claims about insurance plans or the advertiser’s affiliation with the government,” the post said.

The new policy comes a few months after President Joe Biden signed an executive order calling for agencies to reexamine policies such as an expansion of short-term plans that occurred during the Trump administration.