Beware! Health law scammers on the prowl
Now that it's possible to sign up for health insurance under the new federal health care law, the Affordable Care Act, watch out for scam artists. They may use this as a new way to steal your Social Security, bank account, and credit card numbers and with them, your identity.
Don't let them.
Here are steps you can take to sidestep scammers:
- Don't let anyone tell you a new card is required under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It's a sneaky way to lull you into handing over private information. No ACA cards exist.
- Don't believe anyone who says the law makes everyone buy new insurance policies. It's true the law says nearly everyone must have health insurance. But if you like the Medicare Supplemental, Part D, or Medicare Advantage coverage you have now, you don't have to buy anything new.
- Your best bet is to give no information to anyone who calls or even comes to your door to talk about enrolling under ACA. Instead, you can call 1-800-318-2596 for information (TTY: 855-889-4325). These are toll-free phone numbers to the official federal government Health Insurance Marketplace call center. If you get a call from someone claiming to be with an insurance company or the government, ask them to mail you more information or provide you with the address of a website you can visit.
- Be wary of visitors or callers claiming to be government workers "checking the accuracy" of your personal medical information so they can "update" it for the Affordable Care Act. The government does not have representatives doing that.
- If buying direct rather than using the government marketplace, stick with an insurance company you know. If you've never heard of a company before, it could be a made- up company that offers no real health insurance coverage for the money you pay them. They walk away with your money and all your personal information.