The problematic rollout of the healthcare.gov website has drawn a lot of attention, and has also probably led con artists to step up their Obamacare scam efforts. The Patient Protection and affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare, is a federal law that will have a wide reaching effect beginning on January 1, 2014. Unfortunately, a lot of people are not very knowledgeable about this law. Because of this, a lot of con artists and identity thieves are using the confusion to perpetrate health care scams, many of which involve Medicaid and Medicare.
Most of the scams involving Obamacare, Medicaid, and Medicare comes through e-mail messages. Con artists routinely try to portray themselves as representatives of government agencies in an attempt to get people to hand over their sensitive personal information. Some e-mails, for example, tell people that they are eligible for free health care under Obamacare, or that their Medicare and Medicaid enrollment eligibility is threatened if they don’t act immediately.
Whenever someone asks you for personal or identifying information, whether through email, over the phone, or by letter, it’s almost always a scam. Identity thieves try to find certain types of information in order to rob people of their money, or open new accounts without the victim’s consent. The type of information identity thieves typically go for includes bank account numbers, Social Security Numbers, dates of birth, mother’s maiden names, and any other piece of sensitive data.
To get you to hand over this information, identity thieves use a number of different strategies. For example, some con artists are claiming that you might be able to qualify for better car insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Others are claiming that if you don’t act quickly, you could lose your Medicare or Medicaid coverage by January 1, 2014.
These types of scams are often the most dangerous, especially to seniors or those who rely on Medicare or Medicaid, because they cause fear of losing your coverage. People who react in fear can often give away their sensitive data before they even realize what’s going on.
These schemes are also effective because the January 1, 2014 date has been widely reported as the date on which some people need to sign-up for health care policies. Though the Affordable Care Act requires individuals to acquire health insurance by January 1, those currently covered under Medicare or Medicaid are not going to lose their coverage.
Confusion and Answers
Sorting out what’s real from what’s a scam can often be difficult, especially if you don’t know much about Obamacare. You can find out more about the law by visiting healthcare.gov, or by calling your attorney for assistance.