Protect Yourself from Obamacare Fraud

Any big new government initiative brings confusion with it, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – known colloquially as “Obamacare” – is no exception. The flood of information about mandates, exchanges, fines, taxes, penalties, lawsuits and rulings has boosted the noise-to-signal ratio about the ACA, and left millions – especially seniors – scratching their heads.

Naturally, a small army of fraudsters, shysters and criminals have stepped in to exploit the confusion.

This article from CNBC outlines some of the scams we’re already seeing – and Obamacare hasn’t even been rolled out yet.

  • •  Con artists have created websites designed to fool people into thinking they are logging onto the online exchange system to buy health insurance when they are not.
  • •  Criminals are telling seniors that in order to qualify for coverage under Obamacare, they must buy an “insurance card.” In some cases, con artists are telling seniors they can even go to jail if they don’t buy the card.
  • •  Fraudsters are calling people and posing as “navigators,” there to help people through the system. Once they earn the mark’s trust, they exploit it to gain personal information, including Social Security numbers, birthdates, bank account numbers and other sensitive information. They then empty the victim’s accounts and disappear.
  • •  Some of these criminals are claiming to be officials with Medicare, Medicaid, the Department of Health, Obamacare, or other government agency.

 

Here are some things to keep in mind that are of particular relevance for veterans and military families:

Tricare beneficiaries do not need to do anything. Tricare continues as it has before, and is not affected by the Affordable Care Act at all. You don’t need ‘navigators,’ and you don’t need to go onto the online exchanges. The same applies to veterans enrolled with the Veterans Administration for their health care.

The exchanges are not even slated to be live until October 1. You cannot buy a policy under the exchanges until that date. Any website billing itself as an Obamacare ‘exchange’ and trying to sell you a policy before that date is likely fraudulent.

You do not need to buy an “insurance card.”

No one from the government is or will be calling to get personal information over the phone.

If you are not a Tricare or VA health care beneficiary and you want more information about health care and the exchanges in your state, start with www.healthcare.gov.

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