It’s taken almost 4 years, but the Republican party has announced plans for an alternative to Obamacare. It may prove too little too late for the oddly titled ‘Republican Study Committee’s American Healthcare Reform Act’ however, with the provisions of the Affordable Care Act due to take effect in just under a week. October 1 will mark the opening of the health insurance exchanges which offer citizens and businesses a market through which to purchase coverage for themselves and/or their employees. However, there are other stumbling blocks in the way of making the journey to Health Care Reform a smooth one, aside from the Republican Party’s late drive for an alternative.
Officials have this week warned US citizens and employers to watch out for opportunistic scammers, looking to make a quick buck by exploiting confusion over the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. With the Marketplaces due to open in less than two weeks, here are some scams that are pervading the airwaves.
Threatening Emails and other messages
There is no denying it, the Affordable Care Act is a complex piece of legislation. And scammers are looking to capitalize on nationwide confusion over what the legislation actually legislates for. Businesses and large employers will play a significant role in the success/failure of Health Care Reform as large employers will become obliged to provide their employees with insurance coverage of some form or another come January 1, 2014. And as employers look at various ways in which they can afford to provide adequate cover for their employees, scammers have been trying to take advantage with emails stating: “Avoid overpaying and comply with the law by getting health coverage now.”
Katherine Hutt, spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau, this week advised employers to “never give your personal information to anyone who has contacted you.” Confusion is undoubtedly a scammers number 1 tool, as Hutt rightly put it, however, by following her instructions and studying up on what the legislation will entail for you and your business come October 1, you can assess what offers are legitimate and what offers are aiming to exploit you and your business.
There is no such thing as an Affordable Care Act card, however, that won’t stop scammers trying to convince you there is. Many employers across America have experienced telephone calls and actual door-to-door visits from people claiming to be Solicitors, advising them to swap sensitive information such as Social Security and Credit Card numbers, for an ‘Affordable Care Act card.’ As with email scams, you will be able to properly identify phone scammers by educating yourself and your employees on the provisions of the Affordable Care Act and if you can’t get your head around it, it’s worth talking to your insurance provider to clear up any grey areas, which leads me to my next point.
Fake Navigators and Advisors
Confusion over the Affordable Care Act has resulted in many voicemails being left in the mailboxes of insurance providers. As the Marketplace officials are gearing up to assist the public and clear up any qualms people have ahead of October 1, some exploitative scammers are offering false advice to confused employers.
In August, the Department of Health and Human Services awarded $67 million in grants to 105 navigator programs in the Marketplaces. These Navigators are trained and certified and work through the organizations awarded the grants, ranging from United Way to universities, Planned Parenthood, and community health centers. Their job is to advise US citizens on the best possible Insurance plan for them. They are also there to answer any questions employers might have of deadlines and what is legally required of them. By checking with your state’s marketplace and department of insurance, you will be able to clarify whether a navigator is certified or just a scammer, looking to prey on your confusion.
Looking out for scams is one way of ensuring you and your business don’t fall victim to an opportunistic con-artist, however, studying up on the Affordable Care Act, researching the stance of the state you belong to and subsequently, moving to ensure your employees are properly informed is the only sure way of protecting yourself against scammers. If you need to know more about the Affordable Care Act, consult a trusted source such as your local government representatives or your insurance providers.
If you need advice on the Affordable Care Act from a trusted source, contact us directly for free and speak with one of our experts.