Monday, March 30, 2015

Obamacare $cams

Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario has warned consumers, particularly uninsured people, to look out for con artists trying to sell health insurance related to the new federal health law. So if you get a call, fax or email purporting to sell you insurance under the new law or reminding you that the health law required coverage, don't share any personal information or hand over any money. Obamacare. Con artists. Scams.

Obamacare $cams

Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario
Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario

Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario has warned consumers, particularly uninsured people, to look out for con artists trying to sell health insurance related to the new federal health law.

“No business should be attempting to sell health coverage under the new federal law just yet,” Ario said

So if you get a call, fax or email purporting to sell you insurance under the new law or reminding you that the health law required coverage, don’t share any personal information or hand over any money.

“It is likely a scam and should be reported to the Insurance Department immediately,” Ario said. “Consumers should be wary of any door-to-door sales pitch or an offer to help them enroll. Do not sign anything or offer any payment until you are sure you know all the facts.”

One thing to keep in mind is that most of the provisions, including any mandate to have health coverage, don’t start until 2014.

Provisions that go into effect this year are a program for uninsured people with preexisting conditions, allowing parents to keep children on their policy until age 26, requirements on insurers to cover preventative services at no cost to subscribers.

Still, there have been reports from across the county of scams using the new bill as bait.  The New York Times reported in April that a telemarketer in Illinois sold an elderly woman health insurance to protect her against the “death panels” and Kansas con artists poising as government workers taking money for “Obamacare” insurance.

Experts warn against falling for the Obamacare scams as no such program exists. The term was coined by opponents of the health reform legislation pushed by President Obama.

Ario recommended Pennsylvanians check out information vetted by the state’s insurance department by visiting his department’s website and checking on a special section on “Health Care Reform & You” or by calling toll-free 877-881-6388.

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Check Up covers regional health news and a wide array of healthcare topics from pharmaceutical happenings to patient safety. Read about some of our bloggers here.

Portions of this blog may also be found in the Inquirer's Sunday Health Section.

Michael R. Cohen, R.Ph. President, Institute for Safe Medication Practices
Daniel R. Hoffman, Ph.D. President, Pharmaceutical Business Research Associates
Hooman Noorchashm, M.D., Ph.D. Cardiothoracic surgeon in the Philadelphia area
Amy J. Reed, M.D., Ph.D. Anesthesiologist and Surgical Intensivist in the Philadelphia Area
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