With all the publicity swirling around the Affordable Care Act, it's not surprising if some of you are confused. Do you need new coverage? Do you have to seek advice and maybe pay for that advice to understand the new marketplace exchanges?
It seems scam artists may already be trying to capitalize on the confusion surrounding the new law and key dates to implementation. The Federal Trade Commission anticipates that the volume of scams involving the "Affordable Care Act" or "Obamacare" may increase.
Here is advice from the FTC:
** Don't take a call from someone you don't know or trust who offers to help you navigate the new healthcare market or wants to sign you up for an insurance plan that supposedly will make you ACA-compliant, and they want your credit card number or bank account information.
** Those kinds of cold calls shouldn't take place. Same thing with an unsolicited email, text, or door-to-door visit.
** No one legitimate will call you to enroll you or charge you money, either for assistance in navigating the new law or for coverage under the ACA.
** Watch out for TV, radio, print and online ads that say things like "free" or "Act now" in connection with the new law.
** "Act now to save money." There's no rush to sign up, so another red flag is a pitch like "limited time offer."
** If you're told you need a "special insurance card for a cost" - THIS IS FALSE.
** If you're told you'll lose your Medicare coverage if you don't sign up" - THIS IS FALSE.
** If you're told you need a new Medicare card, or another health insurance card" -
THIS IS FALSE.
** If you're told someone needs to verify your SSN or bank account number" - THIS IS FALSE.
** Calls from someone saying "I'm from the government" - THIS IS FALSE.
** "You'll go to jail, lose benefits, or face a penalty if you don't sign up" - THIS IS FALSE.
** "If you don't sign up, you'll lose access to your current doctors under Medicare" -
THIS IS FALSE
The FTC says watching out for scams on the new health care law are a top priority. The FTC encourages people, if you get calls, emails, or texts you think might be an ACA-related scam, please report it to the FTC at ftc.gov or 1-877-382-4357. Consumer complaints help the FTC find and stop fraud. You can also file complaints with your state Attorney General's office, local or state consumer protection agency, and the Better Business Bureau.
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