5 wrongs make a right. How to be prepared for healthcare scams
Scams are not always as obvious as the Nigerian email from Prince Kufour Otumfuo. In some cases, they may be on the other end of the phone with a friendly sounding voice claiming to work at a national Medicare office.
It's not uncommon for scamming to occur during Medicare enrollment periods, but this year, many con artists are taking advantage of the misinformation surrounding the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The best way to be prepared is to know what you're up against.
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Here are some ways health-insurance scammers could try to steal your identity, leaving you on the hook for services they use or purchases they make:
- "You need a new Medicare card because of Obamacare": Wrong. You don't.
- "You're eligible for a refund because the health care law has changed": Wrong. They just want your bank account information for a phony direct deposit.
- "Hi, I'm with the state/your doctor/your hospital and I need some information": Wrong. If you aren't sure whether the call is genuine, look up the caller's phone number yourself and call it back. Don't trust Caller ID, which can be faked.
- "You're entitled to a complimentary checkup": Wrong. This could be a way to learn your Medicare/Social Security number (and/or credit card number for "shipping charges" if they promise you free medical supplies).
- "Your coverage has changed. You need our policy for full protection": Wrong. If you have group coverage at work, your employer will inform you of any changes. If you have an individual policy, check with your insurance provider.
Not sure whether an offer is legitimate or not? Call 1-800-318-2596 with questions related to the ACA, or 1-800-633-4227 with questions about Medicare.
If you or someone you know does NOT have health insurance coverage, check out WorkingAmericaHealthCare.com to learn more about the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) and possible Working America-endorsed providers in your area.