‘Tis the Season for Health Care Scams

Photo (cc) by Julian Carvajal

The Federal Trade Commission is warning Americans who are shopping for new health insurance plans to watch out for potential scams.

The second annual open enrollment for Obamacare began Nov. 15. According to the FTC, it’s also open season for identity thieves.

Regardless of whether you’re shopping for a plan on a government exchange or you’re covered by private insurance purchased elsewhere or have Medicare, scammers are targeting you.

According to the FTC, one of the best ways to protect yourself is to recognize a potential scam:

  • Medicare. If an “official Medicare agent” shows up at your front door, the FTC says it’s a scam. There are no Medicare sales reps. If you get a call that says you’re required to have a prescription plan or you’ll lose your Medicare coverage, that’s another scam. Also, don’t give out your personal information, including your Medicare number, over the phone, the FTC warns.
  • Affordable Care Act marketplace. “If you are shopping in the [federal] Health Insurance Marketplace, only shop at HealthCare.gov. People who try to sign you up elsewhere may be scammers,” the FTC said. Also know that the government will not call to sell you insurance.
  • If you buy insurance elsewhere. The FTC urges consumers to make sure they’re signing up for actual insurance, not a medical discount plan. They are not the same. If you’re unsure if it’s insurance, call your state insurance commissioner’s office.

If you think you’ve been a victim of a health care scam, report it to the FTC by clicking here. If it’s a Medicare-related scam, report it to Medicare.gov.

If you’d like more information on health care scams, click here.

Have you had experience with health care scammers? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Here’s a recent video explaining what you need to know about Obamacare open enrollment:

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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