Fraud alerts

Column 11:  9-8-2013  Fraud alerts

 

I understand that I have to provide a great deal of personal information to obtain coverage how do I protect my information?

Sadly, there are always criminal opportunists that can take advantage of us.  I am always amazed at how creative they can be.  You are right, you will be asked to provide a great deal of information that would be dangerous in the hands of someone who would steal your identity. 

At this point you should not be receiving unsolicited calls about "Obamacare" requesting your personal information.  Final rules for Navigators and Assistors and the ability to do telephone outreach have not been determined as yet.  However there is a lot of funding for educational outreach.  These organizations are charged with educating the public on the program but are not supposed to ask for any confidential information.  If you are contacted, you should be able to call Covered California to verify that the person is legitimate.  The number is 888-975-1142.

The FTC already has issued a consumer alert about one telemarketing scheme, in which impostors claiming to be from Medicare told consumers they needed to hand over their personal or financial information in order to continue eligibility because "change is on the horizon."

But nothing in the Affordable Care Act threatens existing benefits for Medicare enrollees, The official-sounding calls were just a ploy to steal consumers' identities and money.  The FTC received more than 1,100 complaints about similar scams in May alone.

 

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I'M CONTACTED ABOUT SIGNING UP FOR A HEALTH PLAN? 

  • The Medicare open enrollment period is a time when there's a higher risk for fraudulent activities.
  • It's against the law for someone who knows that you have Medicare to sell you a Marketplace plan.
  • DO NOT share your Medicare number or other personal information with anyone who knocks on your door or contacts you uninvited to sell you a health plan.
  • Senior Medicare Patrol programs are teaching people with Medicare how to detect and report fraud, and protect themselves from fraudulent activity and identity theft.

To learn more about health care fraud and ways to protect against it, visit StopMedicareFraud.gov or the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) program in your area (locate your SMP at SMPresource.org).

 

 

Note: All information in this column is provided" to the best of my knowledge" subject to final regulation by the respective agencies.