Scam artists have already hit the streets, airwaves and phone lines trying to take advantage of confusion about what the new health care law means. As AARP frequently cautions all 50+Americans including its members, criminals use the news headlines as inspiration for clever sales pitches that defraud the public and pad their own pockets.
Here in Wyoming, AARP works closely with several state and non-profit agencies to protect you and your loved ones from health care and financial fraud and identity theft. We also can connect you to national resources to help you fight back.
Law enforcement officials have already spotted and stopped three scams. One television commercial urged people to call a toll-free number to sign up for new government insurance during the “limited enrollment period.” Other scammers, claiming they were with the government, went door-to-door trying to sell fake insurance. A state attorney general reported that telemarketers were seeking personal information so they could send a new Medicare card required by the new law. Another scam to watch out for is promising to help collect – for a fee – the $250 rebate for Medicare Part D recipients who fall into the prescription drug coverage gap.
Each of these pitches is a fraud. But scam artists are slick, so it is hard to predict all the ways they will try to twist the new 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 you may need to do.
- Know who you are dealing with. You will not need middlemen to help you apply for new benefits or to receive the $250 “doughnut hole” rebate check. If you are eligible, the rebate check will come to you automatically. You do not need to take any action – no requests, no applications, no fees.
- Be skeptical. If you receive a visit, call or email from anyone claiming to want to help you sign up for new programs created by the new health care law, they may not be who they say they are. Do not pay anyone to help you receive your new benefits. And do not reveal any of your personal information, such as your full name, date of birth, or Social Security number. If someone requests this information, it’s more likely they’re “out to get you” than to help you.
- Report fraud. Law enforcement officials need you to report your concerns. The new health care law includes extra resources for fighting health care fraud. Contact the Wyoming Department of Insurance, the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit, or your local police department about any suspicious promotions.
- Stay informed. AARP keeps you up-to-date with accurate and timely information as the details of the new law are made public.
There is a lot packed into the new health care law and AARP will continue to be here for d for all Americans including our members, educating them on what the new law means for them.