With Obamacare scheduled to officially go into effect in 2014, tons of scam artists are attempting to cash in on the confusion in the general public around the new health care law. The Federal Trade Commission has reported an uptick in complaints about scammers posing as agents from Medicare and attempting to collect personal or financial information from unsuspecting seniors. A few things you should watch out for.
Apparently, one of the most popular frauds being committed is telling Medicare participants that they will need to have a new special “Medicare card” under the new law. If they do not acquire this card, they will not be eligible for Medicare benefits. They then request personal and financial information over the phone to pay for the new card. Other fraudsters are telling people they need to provide personal as well as financial information to prove that they are legal citizens in order to receive their new Medicare card. If they do not provide the information, they are told that their Medicare benefits will expire.
Here is what you need to know.
First of all, Medicare will never call you. Ever. If they need something from you, they will notify you by mail only.
Second, there is new Medicare card under the new health care law. In fact, despite what these fraudsters will try to tell you, Obamacare changes very little about Medicare.
The other big scheme that seems to be going around is misleading insurance sales. There are insurance agents telling people that they are going to lose either their Medicare benefits or lose access to their doctors because of Obamacare. They convince them instead to sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan. The insurance agent then collects a commission on the new plan, even though the beneficiary had no reason to change insurance coverage.
Similar to this, some people are posing as insurance agents and doing the same thing. These fraudsters then outright steal the insurance premiums, and the unsuspecting consumer actually has no insurance coverage.
Just remember, as with all things, if something does not feel right, err on the side of caution. Take a step back. Contact another professional or two in the field and tell them about the situation. Do not let these fraudsters take advantage of you.