En español l Scam artists have already hit the streets, Internet and phone lines trying to take advantage of the confusion many people have about what the health care law means.
As AARP frequently cautions its members and all Americans, criminals use news headlines as inspiration for clever sales pitches that defraud the public and pad their own pockets. Law enforcement officials have already spotted scams like these.
- Scammers claiming they were with the government going door to door trying to sell fake insurance.
- Telemarketers seeking personal information so they could send a new Medicare card or “national health insurance card” required by the law
- Imposters telling consumers they need to had to turn over personal or financial information or they would lose benefits or go to jail
Each of these pitches is a scam, designed to trick you into losing money or to steal your identify. But scam artists are slick, so it's hard to predict all the ways they'll attempt to twist the health care law for their own profit.
What you should do
- Watch for official communications. Government officials do not sell insurance policies door to door or over the phone. As new insurance benefits take effect, rely on trusted sources to tell you what, if anything, you may need to do. Go to www.healthcare.gov or your state Health Insurance Marketplace for official information about signing up for health insurance and www.medicare.gov for information about Medicare.
- Know who you are dealing with. If you receive a visit, call or email from anyone claiming to want to help you sign up for the programs created by the health care law, they may not be who they say they are. Verify who is calling by asking for written information and by checking www.healthcare.gov for names of those qualified to help you sign up for health insurance in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Separately check out who is sending you emails and don’t open attachments from someone you don’t know.
- Do not pay anyone to help you receive your new benefits. And do not reveal any of your personal information to anyone you don’t know, such as your full name, date of birth, or Social Security number.
Where to report scams
Law enforcement officials need you to report your concerns. The health care law includes extra resources for fighting health care fraud. Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), your state insurance commission, your state attorney general, or local law enforcement about any suspicious promotions or requests.
- File a complaint with the FTC.
- Contact your state insurance commission.
- Contact your state attorney general.
- Report Medicare fraud to Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
You’ll find more information about health care fraud and scams at www.aarp.org/fightfraud
Updated September 2013