Be alert for Medicare and Marketplace fraud
While people in Alaska such as Navigators, Assistors and staff in many departments are preparing for people to enroll in the Affordable Care Act’s (Obamacare) Health Insurance Marketplace, scam artists and crooks are licking their chops, too. Fraudsters look for a period of transition where there is consumer confusion and prey on fear and misinformation.
There will be con artists calling and sending literature that looks like the real deal and there will be scams of products offering what looks like a real insurance product but isn’t. And there will be quasi-insurance products called “discount medical plans” which won’t provide coverage but will cost you a monthly fee. So buyer beware!
And there will be people calling to tell you that under Obamacare you have to get a new insurance card. After you confirm your name and Social Security number and/or bank account, they will make all sorts of promises, but will illegally use your Social Security number or other personal information.
If you are on Medicare or an employee group health plan or other insurance, you probably don’t need to do anything – just keep your card safe, review your benefit booklet to know what your coverage is and relax.
If you are shopping for a plan on the new Marketplace (opens October 1, 2013) be sure you are talking to someone objective, not someone who stands to gain a commission for selling you insurance.
If you get a questionable phone call, either hang up or take their phone number and call them back to see if they answer. Most fraudsters do not. Remember: Medicare will never call, email or come to your door and ask you to confirm or give them any personal information such as name, address, Medicare information, or financial or banking information.
The Navigator agencies in Alaska will be available to assist you. Call 1-800-318-2596 (you will get general information until October 1) or go to HealthCare.gov.
If you suspect fraud you can report it to us at 1-800-478-6065 or contact the Federal Trade Commission and the Alaska Attorney General’s office.