Quick Tips to Prevent Being Scammed as Health Care Reform’s Insurance Marketplaces Start this Fall

There are many scams to watch out for with the upcoming start of health care reform’s insurance marketplaces. And while people with Medicare do NOT need to buy insurance on in the health care exchange, scammers are counting on people being confused. Being well informed about the law and the upcoming changes is the best way to prevent being a victim of fraud. A few tips to remember include:

  • There is no card associated with health care reform.
  • There is no new Medicare card and you do not have to update any personal information.
  • If you have Medicare, you DO NOT need to do anything. You are considered covered. You have Medicare’s fall open enrollment period coming up (Oct 15 – Dec 7) to review your Medicare coverage and make any changes for your 2014 coverage. You do not need any coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace (Covered California in our state).
  • The Health Insurance Marketplace (those exchanges) doesn’t open until October 1, so you can’t buy coverage under the Affordable Care Act until then.
  • Don’t respond to a cold call of any kind, especially one that asks for personal information or money. And don’t trust your Caller ID; it can be spoofed to make it look like the call is coming from a government office.
  • Don’t let anyone rush you. The rates in the exchange have been pre-approved and won’t change during the initial enrollment period, Oct. 1 to March 31. Anyone promising a “special price” or “limited time offer” or who tells you “spots are limited” is lying to you.
  • Beware of bogus websites. If you are searching for your state exchange, go to healthcare.gov or coveredca.com in California. Do not do a “search,” as many fake websites will show up. Be safe and make sure you are on the correct website, and do not enter personal information in pop up windows.

Visit healthcare.gov and our health care reform section for more information on the Affordable Care Act, and see our Medicare Fraud section for more info on fraud and abuse and how to prevent it. If you come across any scams, please report them to our Senior Medicare Patrol at 855-613-7080.