Here Comes Obamacare . . . And The Scammers

by Categorized: Scams Date:

A warning from the Connecticut Better Business Bureau on scams related to Obamacare:

Connecticut Better Business Bureau urges consumers to watch out for solicitations involving the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or as it is commonly known, Obamacare.

When provisions of the law come into effect October 1, 2013, consumers may purchase health insurance through state-run exchanges. The Connecticut program is called Access Health CT.

“Scammers are exploiting confusion about the Affordable Care Act to get consumers to divulge personal information, or pay for services that are not required,” according to Connecticut Better Business Bureau Executive Communications Director, Howard Schwartz. “This has been building over the past year, and we can expect to see more of these scams as October approaches.”

Government agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and consumer advocacy groups are reporting an uptick in complaints about health care overhaul-related scams.

The FTC is alerting consumers about a telemarketing scam, in which the caller claims to be a Medicare employee, and demands money in order to continue eligibility. In other cases, consumers may be directed towards websites or telemarketing call centers to sign up for health insurance at a discount.

There is only one place to shop for qualified health plan: HealthCare.gov, which is run by the FTC’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to help you spot health care fraud, or if you have an elderly friend or relative who may be susceptible to these kinds of tactics:

Hang up the phone – If you get one of these calls, just hang up. You may be tempted to call back, but this will only give the scammer another opportunity to steal your information. Also, be sure not to press any buttons that the scammer instructs.

Never give out personal information – Never give out your bank account numbers, date of birth, credit card number or social security number.

Don’t rely on caller ID – Some scammers are able to display a company’s name or phone number on the caller ID screen. Don’t trust that the information you see is true.

The government rarely communicates via phone calls – Most of the time, the government uses traditional snail mail to communicate to consumers. The government rarely calls, emails or texts, so don’t give your information to these types of government messages.

More information on the ACA is available from the Health and Human Services website, the Health Insurance Marketplace, and in Connecticut, on the Access Health CT website , by telephone at 860-757-5300 or email at cthix.inquiries@ct.gov

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