Change brings with it the opportunity for fraud. It’s a reality of the world and society we live in. When hurricane’s happen, fraudulent contractors often show up on the doorsteps of victims offering to help. When they have gathered valuable information, they disappear with your money. When large banking organizations are absorbed by even larger organizations, fraudulent telemarketers crop up, offering to assist you with transferring your money, when in reality it was already seamlessly transferred without the consumer having to give up private information.
The change in our healthcare system is especially rife with opportunities for fraud and identity theft. There is already a lot of confusion surrounding the new healthcare system. To compound the issue, many of the websites designed to provide information and enrollment were overwhelmed by consumer logins and developed glitches, causing them not to function correctly. Unfortunately, this only helped to set up an environment for crooks to prey on well-meaning, confused, innocent Americans who are only trying to do the right thing and figure out this new system.
PROTECT YOURSELF: TWO THINGS TO WATCH FOR
- State governments have contracted thousands of “Navigators” to help consumers through the process of signing up for insurance and understanding their options. This is legitimate. However, con-artists posing as “Navigators” may show up at your doorstep or give you a call as well.
- True Navigators will not ask for your Social Security Number.
- They will not ask for financial information.
- They will not ask for you to make a payment of any kind.
2. Fake websites will be created by con-artists, designed to look like the State exchange websites. The domain names may be extremely similar, only off by one character. They will probably require consumers to enter financial information in order to enroll. In this way, they will capture financial information and perhaps even sign up users for non-existent insurance plans, leaving the insureds holding the bag on thousands of dollars of medical bills.
- · Know what your state website looks like. If you are unsure, first go to www.healthcare.gov. At the bottom of the page, click the link for “Find the Marketplace in your State”. Some states have chosen to use the Federal Site. Other states have created their own sites. Choose your state from the drop down box and then follow the link to the appropriate, state approved website.
- · New York: https://nystateofhealth.ny.gov
- · New Jersey: www.healthcare.gov
- · Massachusetts: https://www.mahealthconnector.info
- · Legitimate sites do not require financial information upfront in order to enroll.