Healthcare Exchange Scams Prey On People Who Need Insurance
GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. -
On the official government website for the new Health Insurance Marketplace, there's a countdown showing six days left until open enrollment begins.
What scammers are counting on is you'll never use this site or the many legitimate resources at your fingertips.
"When somebody tells you that President Obama is going to put you in jail, I think that would scare anybody," said Karen Carter, the Aging Director with the Appalachian Council of Government.
Carter says scammers are using fear tactics to make you give up your private information.
"We have heard of a scam that has come into South Carolina, not sure if it's hit the Upstate yet, but it's where people are calling individuals and saying they are with the healthcare exchange and saying you have to have a healthcare card to get this process started. But they need your personal information."
If you refuse, she says, they tell you the Feds will come get you.
In this case knowledge will protect you.
-The Federal Government has trained "Navigators" to help you find the insurance information you need. -They will never call you unsolicited. -You can chat with them online, call them, or visit them in person.
The Federal Trade Commission warns scammers have been posing as navigators and charging fees.
"They are never going to charge you a fee. They are never going to try to sell you something based on what they think, they are going to give you unbiased information it's going to be legitimate. They are never going to call you unless you solicit them first. The government just doesn't do that," said Kim Reyes with the Appalachian Council of Government.
Along with scams, misinformation is the enemy here. You have to make sure you're on the legitimate www.healthcare.gov website. And watch out, we did a search online and found the official site is not first or second but 5th on the list.
Just remember, don't pay upfront fees, don't trust unsolicited calls, and make sure any plan you choose is based on unbiased information.
Keep in mind, if you have healthcare through your employer, medicare or medicaid, you don't need to do a thing.