On Tuesday, registration opens for required insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. People’s concern, confusion and fear over the terms under which they’re required to be covered has some scammers on the prowl.
“There are smart criminals out there who have channeled their energy in the wrong direction,” said Gary Scheer, a financial planner in Morristown, New Jersey who’s a specialist in fighting potential fraud under Obamacare.
Scheer said there was no major cause of alarm about the coming changes because, for most people who are already insured, the changes are few. Despite that, he said, unsolicited phone calls, texts or emails could be coming.
“It’s so easy for people to give out information on the phone or on email,” said Scheer. The key rule of thumb, he pointed out, is that the law requires that every person have health insurance, meaning that people who are not insured, or who want different coverage than they have currently, have to make the effort themselves to purchase it.
In other words, if somebody calls, emails or texts in an attempt to sell required insurance, it’s a scam. Scheer’s website http://www.garyscheer.com, as well as that of the National Consumers League http://nclnet.org have important, simple information about protection from Obamacare scammers, including:
-The government won’t call, email or text you
-Anybody who receives an unsolicited call should not give out personal information, like social security numbers or bank account numbers
-If you’re called, hang up; if you’re emailed, either don’t open the email, or delete it
Scheer has done extensive research on the coming changes the Affordable Care Act will bring, and said that most answers to people’s questions can actually be found at http://www.healthcare.gov, the government’s health care information and registration website.
“Sometimes people think, ‘The government is so big, how am I going to figure this out from a website?'” said Scheer, who added, “That happens to be one of the better websites that I’ve seen.”
There are two other important resources in our area for both finding out information about Obamacare changes in coverage and registering to receive coverage. They are the New York and Connecticut state health care exchanges, which are http://info.nystateofhealth.ny.gov/ for New York, and http://www.ct.gov/hix/site/default.asp in Connecticut. New Jersey does not yet have a healthcare exchange, but Jersey residents can register for and shop for insurance through the federal website, healthcare.gov.