The Friedman Blog

Posted on 11/06/2013, by Jeremy Edsall

Is Obamacare Creating a Huge Opportunity for Scammers?

Even before the official rollout of the new online health insurance marketplaces on October 1, there was concern that Obamacare would give scammers a perfect opportunity to steal individual’s personal information.  Now that the rollout out has occurred, that opportunity may now be magnified.

With the website basically inoperable for its first month, and probably well into its second month, enrollers are reportedly having to resort to paper applications.  This potentially creates a huge amount of personal information in the hands of strangers, most of who were only recently trained to take these applications.

Combine this with the revelation that people who currently have individual medical plans have, or may soon see them cancelled, and more opportunities for the crooks arise.  Imagine getting a helpful call from someone from the federal government reassuring you that you can easily keep coverage with just a few pieces of personal information, like your social security number and bank account information.

There are still many Americans who don’t know enough about the requirements for the Affordable Care Act, which may be the only good thing about the web site failing to work; it’s being talked about every day in the media. Still the details remain very fuzzy to many, leaving the door open for anyone who sounds intelligent to give wrong information with the purpose of getting your money or personal information.

There are many who want the opportunity to have health insurance and are eager to learn how much that coverage will cost them.  Our advice is to remain patient until the website is fixed and accurate information is available.  Do not respond to telephone or e-mail solicitations offering health coverage. Know that the government usually mails information, and does not typically call individuals directly.

If you receive a call about signing up for coverage under Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act, simply hang up the phone.  Never give out your personal or banking information to anyone who has called you. Even if you caller ID identifies the caller as being from a company or government entity you recognize don’t trust that as being true.  Scammers can display incorrect information on the screen.

You can learn more about the Affordable Care act on-line at the following websites:

Health & Human Services                                    
U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Kaiser Family Foundation - Subsidy Information (enrollment site)                        

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