Northeast Times

Attorney General warns consumers about health care scam

With mil­lions of con­sumers seek­ing health-care cov­er­age un­der the Af­ford­able Care Act, At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Kath­leen G. Kane is re­mind­ing Pennsylvani­ans to pro­tect their per­son­al in­form­a­tion dur­ing the open en­roll­ment peri­od, which could bring with it a rise in fin­an­cial, med­ic­al or in­sur­ance iden­tity theft scams.

Open en­roll­ment in Fed­er­al Health In­sur­ance Mar­ket­place plans is un­der way for people who buy their own health cov­er­age or who are med­ic­ally un­in­sured. Con­sumers have un­til Dec. 15 to en­roll for cov­er­age be­gin­ning Jan. 1, 2014.

The of­fice of at­tor­ney gen­er­al will mon­it­or the rol­lout to look for pat­terns in con­sumer com­plaints and is­sue con­sumer alerts ac­cord­ingly

The of­fice of­fers the fol­low­ing tips to help Pennsylvani­ans avoid hand­ing over sens­it­ive, per­son­al in­form­a­tion to the wrong per­son:

• Be wary of il­lus­ory gov­ern­ment and com­pany names claim­ing to help with en­roll­ment, es­pe­cially if they list a toll-free num­ber oth­er than that of the of­fi­cial help cen­ter. En­roll­ment is simply an op­tion avail­able to con­sumers, who will not be con­tac­ted by state or fed­er­al gov­ern­ment in per­son or by phone, email or text.

• Guard your per­son­al in­form­a­tion. If you get a call or email ask­ing to veri­fy per­son­al in­form­a­tion for any gov­ern­ment health in­sur­ance plan or for a Medi­care card, hang up the phone or ig­nore the email. You will not be con­tac­ted, and Medi­care is not a part of the mar­ket­place.

• Do not be in­flu­enced by the men­tion of spe­cial rates or dis­counts, be­cause none ex­ist bey­ond the cuts set by the mar­ket­place.

• Ig­nore any cor­res­pond­ence ask­ing for a fee. There is no fee to sub­mit an ap­plic­a­tion to en­roll in a plan in the mar­ket­place, and the people trained to help con­sumers with the ACA trans­ition will not ask for money.

• Li­censed in­sur­ance brokers and agents can seek com­pens­a­tion from in­surers or con­sumers con­sist­ent with state law. You can check to see wheth­er a broker or agent is li­censed by go­ing to the Pennsylvania In­sur­ance De­part­ment web­site at www.in­sur­ance.pa.gov or by call­ing toll-free 1-877-881-6388.

Pennsylvani­ans who be­lieve they have been vic­tim­ized by a rol­lout-re­lated scam can file a com­plaint with the Of­fice of At­tor­ney Gen­er­al by call­ing the Health Care Sec­tion’s toll-free hot­line, 1-877-888-4877, or by vis­it­ing www.at­tor­ney­gen­er­al.gov. The num­ber for the mar­ket­place is 1-800-318-2596. The web­site is www.health­care.gov ••

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