Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in March 2010, unscrupulous scammers have been creating ways to take advantage of consumers’ uncertainty surrounding the law. Posing as insurance agents or representatives of the federal government, when they are not, these scam artists try to sell fraudulent policies or obtain sensitive personal information. The Commerce Department in partnership with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and other state insurance regulators are reminding consumers about common red flags and providing tips on how to avoid being the victim of a scam.
“We will act swiftly on behalf of consumers to stop fraud and abuse,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “Knowledge is the best defense against scams and fraud – I urge all consumers to take steps to protect themselves.”
Open enrollment in MNsure began on October 1. However, nationally, bogus websites that purport to be part of the exchanges have been appearing online for more than a year. MNsure’s official website is www.mnsure.org. Do not enter any personal or financial information into a website that says you can purchase a policy before the open enrollment period.
Medicare or other Card Scams
One variation of this trick specifically targets seniors on Medicare. In this scam, the caller claims that in order for them to get their new Medicare card and continue receiving their benefits; they must verify their bank account and routing numbers. Some callers ask for their Medicare numbers, which are identical to Social Security numbers.
You are not required to obtain a new Medicare card under the ACA. Also, anyone who is a legitimate representative will not solicit, or call you, to ask for personal and financial information. Beware of solicitation calls and never give your personal information to a solicitor from an unknown source.
Don't Be Misled
• The salesperson says the premium offer is only good for a limited time. Be skeptical of someone who is trying to pressure you into buying a policy because the rate is only good for a short time. In fact, enrollment in the exchanges are open from October 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014 and rates for plans in MNsure will have been approved for the entire enrollment period.
Remember: if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce is here to help