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Consumer beware: There's fraud in the Healthcare Marketplace (gasp)

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If there is one thing people can agree on, it’s that the Affordable Care Act is a bit confusing. 

The problem for those over 65 is that in many ways signing up for health care looks very similar to signing up for Medicare including the time frame that it occurs in.  So you can see how the losers in this world who are always hoping to score by hitting up your wallet would take advantage of that confusion to make some money.  So the government and just about any organizations that work with seniors are trying to get the word out that you should beware.

However, it isn’t just those over 65 that need to exhibit caution.  Here are a few scams already in the works:

  • Some scammers are offering to help people navigate the health insurance market place for a fee:
  • Some scammers are telling people they need a new Medicare card; AND here’s the old standby
  • Some scammers are telling people they are from the government and they need your personal information.

The people who are charged with helping people figure out what they need to do to get insurance in the health insurance marketplace CANNOT charge you anything.  At all.  You don’t need a special insurance card and no one needs a new Medicare card.  It’s against the law for someone who knows you have Medicare to sell you a marketplace plan.  As always don’t provide your personal or financial information to anyone who contacts you.  They aren’t from the government because the government doesn’t allow it.  Medical discount plans don’t meet the minimum requirements for health insurance coverage because they aren’t health insurance but rather a membership in a club that claims to offer discounts.  If you have a question, are unsure or otherwise some niggling little thing suggests what you are hearing isn’t quite right, please stop.  Then call 1-800-218-2596 to get answers about your concerns.  You should never sign or agree to anything that you don’t understand and think two, three or even more times before you provide anybody information they can use to rip you off (personal information, social security number etc).

Kaiser Health News has a whole rash of stories concerning health exchanges and fraud.  Just about every major news organization has run something including the New York Times, CNN, The Washington Post and others.

Still, someone will inadvertently fall victim to a scammer.  The solution isn’t to keep it quiet.  The solution is to shout it from the rooftops at least metaphorically and that means calling and reporting the fraud.  You can call 1-800-218-2596 to report fraud associated with the Affordable Care Act.

For Washington state readers:  The Yakima Herald reported a story about a website that looks and feels like Washington’s official health exchange site.  The site is  The site belongs to a Seattle-based health insurance brokerage called the Health Insurance Team and they claim to be on the up and up.  If you are looking for Washington’s official site it is  That site is operated by the Washington state insurance commission office.  That site also includes some questions and answers about the new health exchanges here.  But, I want to remind people that if you are 65 and over you shouldn’t be concerned about the health exchanges because at least on the individual level they have nothing to do with you.

Other stories that may be of interest:

Washington state gets ready to roll out its version of health exchange

If you’re 65 or over, don’t call the health exchange

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