August 21, 2013 | Volume 100 / Number 341

Obamacare: Be Careful Out There

Montana Insurance Commissioner Monica J. Lindeen is warning Montanans to be on the lookout for scams related to the Affordable Care Act – commonly called “Obamacare” – as the law’s major changes roll out this fall.

“Con artists are taking advantage of the public’s confusion over the health care reform law, making quick cash off innocent people,” said Lindeen. “My staff is working to set the record straight with Montanans on how Obamacare works and our investigators are ready to crack down on scammers.”

Health insurance exchanges, now known as marketplaces, are set to launch in October but imposter exchanges can already be found online and are expected to increase. There are four common Obamacare scams you should be aware of. Always contact Lindeen’s office if you encounter one of these scams.

A con artist calls you claiming to be a federal employee, offers to sell you a new federal insurance card under the Affordable Care Act, and needs your personal information. There is no need for any new national insurance card, do not give out your information.

Scam artists prey on seniors telling them they need a new Medicare card because of changes from the Affordable Care Act and request their Medicare numbers. Medicare numbers are identical to Social Security numbers and enable scam artists to commit identity theft. There is no need for a new Medicare card. Never give your Medicare number to a stranger.

Scammers were also found using a real health reform provision that allows young adults up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ health plan. They tried to sell a “new young adult policy from the ACA.” There is no need for a separate individual policy for children on their parents' plan. This is the point of the provision.

Fake exchanges are already online with the word “exchange” in a banner on their home pages. Often, these sites collect personal data that may be used to commit identity fraud. The real health insurance exchanges aren't available until October 1. Refer to www.healthcare.gov for information on Montana’s exchange, known as the Marketplace.

Lindeen also referred Montanans to her office's new Obamacare education website, www.montanahealthanswers.com.

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