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Scams and the Heath Care Reform Law

As early as April 2010, while the ink was barely dry on the Health Care Reform Law, the scammers began. Apparently, certain salesmen have been going door-to-door selling fictitious “Obama Care” policies.

Several government agencies, trade groups and consumer advocates are warning persons to be on their guard against such scams.

Apparently, these are variations on the scam: there is only a limited enrollment period in which to buy insurance in order to guard against “Obama Care”; there is a limited enrollment period to buy insurance before the Health Care Reform Law takes effect; or even that the offered policy is necessitated by the new Health Care Reform Law.

AARP has also issued a fraud alert. According to AARP, “The fraudsters often impersonate insurance agents and government workers to gain the confidence of consumers, and then ask for personal information (such as Social Security numbers, bank accounts, etc.) that can be sold within minutes to global identity thieves.”

“Some scammers are even selling insurance against ‘death panels’ for a ‘mere $29.95 per month.’”

The fraud alert from AARP also issues the following warnings:

  • Don’t pay a scammer to expedite Medicare drug coverage rebates (the government does not allow this service).
  • Verify that the insurer is licensed by calling your state Insurance Department. Be wary of any company who e-mails or calls you to sell an insurance product.
  • Call your Better Business Bureau (BBB) for information on any company that contacts you.
  • If you believe that you have been scammed, call the State Attorney General to find out what your rights are and how to file a complaint.

Besides the scam alert, a hot issue is “Will Medicare recipients’ supplemental policies be changed?” “Will my Medicare benefits be changed?”

The Health Care Reform Law makes no changes to Medicare supplemental insurance. (There will likely be changes to the Medicare Advantage plans over the coming years as the federal government will begin to pay them less each year before enrolling Medicare beneficiaries.) As for Medicare itself, the law makes no reductions or limitations on any mandated benefit, such as hospital and skilled nursing facility benefits under Medicare Part A.

Under the new law, all Americans will be required to purchase health care insurance beginning in 2014. Please understand that this does not apply to persons who are on Medicare now or will be on Medicare by 2014.


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