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Uncertainty around Affordable Care Act could breed scammers

Updated: Monday, October 7, 2013 |
Uncertainty around Affordable Care Act could breed scammers story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - There is still a lot of confusion about the Affordable Care Act, despite its recent implementation.

And when there is confusion, there are scammers ready to take advantage of people in hopes of making a quick buck.

But insurance officials say that even if you don't have all the answers, you don't have to be a victim.

As soon as the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, was signed into law, health insurance related scams started creeping up.

“We do experience, when there are massive changes to some government program, there are unfortunately groups of people who try and take advantage of that confusion,” said Caleb Buhs, with the Department of Insurance and Financial Services.

Fraud.org says these scammers go all-out.

They may be trying to sell phony insurance policies, they create slick-looking websites—all designed to get your money or your personal information.

Most of the time, health care schemes target senior citizens.

“We're hearing claims of Obamacare cards, or another scam that we've heard is folks trying to sell or offer somebody a new medicare card, and that simply does not exist,” Buhs said.

The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services, and the AARP is working hard to make sure seniors do not fall victim to these scams.

“No legitimate business is going to be calling over the phone asking for a social security number or other personal identifying information of that nature,” explained Andrew Farmer, who works in community outreach for AARP.

Representatives from the state and the AARP have been traveling around Michigan, holding workshops to tell people what to look out for and what they can do to protect themselves.

They say a lot of the confusion centers on medicare.  And they're telling people, if you're already enrolled, there is nothing you need to do.

“Medicare cards are not changing, there is no Obamacare card, there is no ACA insurance card that's needed, and a governmental official would not be calling your home and soliciting this information,” Buhs said.

They advise that you not even bother trying to make sure the business is legitimate. Just hang up the phone, or close the door.

“No matter what the organization or issue is just do not give out your social security number or other personal information to anybody,” Farmer said.

The state and the AARP also have a lot of information online, and you can also find valuable information on the federal government's website.
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