Seniors Falling Victim to Health Care Scams Due to Confusion Over Obamacare
Have you gotten any weird phone calls lately about your health care? Have any of your older relatives? What about too-good-to-be-true offers in the mail?
If so, you're not alone. The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud (CAIF), a non-profit group out of Washington D.C. that monitors and fights against insurance-related crimes, is reporting a big uptick in scams largely due to Obamacare.
James Quiggle, communications director for the CAIF, says some 83,000 scams were reported last year -- an increase of over 12 percent. According to the group, scammers have jumped on the confusion over how the new Obamacare system works telling victims it will change their health care.
Quiggle says crooks are selling stripped-down policies that are virtually useless, fake policies and even fake Obamacare plans! Health care has never been easy to understand, but Obamacare has just made it that much more difficult, Quiggle said. A number of studies indicate over 50 percent of Americans don't understand how the new health care plans work, when they all go into effect, and how it will affect them.
Quiggle and the CAIF offer some tips for how to avoid being scammed:
- Don't accept or give any information to someone who cold-calls you pushing medical coverage or offering assistance in understanding it.
- Write down the number if one is displayed on your caller ID and report it to the Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission.
- Don't send off personal information via mail for any surveys, or answer literature offering health care plans or benefits unless you are sure it's from your provider.
- Contact your trusted insurance provider if you have questions or need information. Quiggle and the CAIF said NOW is the time to make sure you understand your own health care plan as much as possible.
CAIF says as the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) begins to really ramp up in the next few years; it's inevitable that scams involving health care will become more rampant and sophisticated.