White House: "Beware Of Healthcare Scams"
With open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act set to begin Oct. 1, officials at the new health insurance Marketplaces are gearing up to help consumers. Call centers have been launched. “Navigators” to help consumers are being trained. Ad campaigns are under way in the states operating their own Marketplaces.
…and crooks are already at work, too, eager to pretend to help people enroll as they steal personal information, money, or both.
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Health care scams are increasing, officials say, and they expect the trend to get worse. “ACA scams are a top priority for the FTC [Federal Trade Commission], and we expect to receive more consumer complaints about them when the health insurance Exchanges get started,” says Frank Dorman, an FTC spokesman.
Even savvy consumers might listen to a scammer’s pitch without realizing that it’s bogus because there’s so much confusion about the health care law. In an August poll, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 51% of Americans don’t understand how the law will affect them.
Confusion is the scammer’s No. 1 tool. Obamacare cons have been rearing up all around the country, says James Quiggle, a spokesman for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.