While most consumers are familiar with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as Obamacare, many are not aware of the specific procedures or important dates associated with the ACA. Fraudsters may use this lack of knowledge to scam consumers and possibly steal their identities.
In one variation of the scam, consumers may receive a call from a “licensed navigator.” The caller will claim to be associated with the ACA and offer to help navigate the complex insurance enrollment process. However, in order to get started, the consumer must first provide personal information to “verify” his identity. In reality, the caller is not associated with the government. Consumers who provide any personal information increase their risk of fraud or identity theft. Open enrollment and legitimate marketing for insurance plans associated with the ACA will not begin until Oct. 1, 2013. Ohioans should contact the Ohio Health Insurance Marketplace
for more information.
In another variation of the scam, consumers may receive a call from a “Medicare representative” claiming that the ACA requires seniors to obtain new Medicare cards immediately. The caller will claim that the senior must provide personal information in order to receive his new Medicare card. In reality, this is a scam. The ACA does not require seniors to obtain new Medicare cards. Consumers who receive a call such as this should not provide any personal information, should not mail in their current Medicare card, and should hang up the phone immediately.
The Ohio Department of Insurance (800-686-1526 and www.insurance.ohio.gov
) has a wealth of information regarding the ACA, including Frequently Asked Questions
for individuals, seniors, and employer.
Remember these tips to avoid ACA-related scams:
On Oct. 1, 2013, Ohioans can get additional answers to their federal health insurance questions and begin the ACA enrollment process by visiting www.healthcare.gov or calling 800-318-2596.
Legitimate government representatives will never contact you unexpectedly and request personal information such as your name, address, Medicare ID, Social Security number, or bank account information to begin the ACA enrollment process.
Navigators are not permitted to steer consumers to a certain product, so if someone is steering you in one direction, it may be a scam.
If you suspect a scam or an unfair business practice, report it to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov