Obamacare — the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — is here. In less than 30 days the health insurance marketplaces will be open for business, and Americans will begin shopping for health insurance — some for the very first time.
But do people really understand what the Affordable Care Act is all about?
A recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that, for half of the respondents, the answer is NO. A large number of Americans simply do not understand the new law.
Unfortunately, people who are not in the know are left wide open to be victimized by scammers and con artists. We’ve heard reports of unsolicited phone calls and fraudulent websites.
What kinds of scams are out there?
- People asking for your personal information so they can mail you your insurance card. There are no special insurance cards being issued as part of the implementation of ACA! Anyone who tells you otherwise is a fraud.
- Callers or websites claiming they can enroll you in health insurance prior to October 1, 2013. Remember, enrollment for plans effective in 2014 begins on October 1, 2013. Anyone who claims they can enroll you before that date is not telling the truth.
- Offers from unfamiliar sources via phone, email, or text to sign you up for insurance through the exchange. The exchanges will be run by government agencies. They will not be contacting the public via phone, email, or text! Be suspicious of anyone who claims they are calling from the exchange!
- Requests for personal information. NEVER GIVE OUT ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION like credit card numbers, bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, etc. to an unfamiliar caller or website.
- False Caller ID displays. Today’s technology allows scammers to manipulate the number that appears on your Caller ID.
What should I do if I think I’m being scammed?
- If you do get an unsolicited call from someone you don’t know about health insurance, do not give out any personal information.
- When researching your options online, make sure you’re on a legitimate site.
- File a claim with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) — www.ftc.gov or 877-382-4357.
- Inform the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org/scam.
Be sure you’re protected by checking into the credentials of anyone you may deal with regarding health insurance. Using the services of an experienced, licensed insurance professional is a good bet!
And remember, licensed professionals like Virginia Medical Plans can help you get your health insurance — on or off the exchange! Give us a call!