Are you interested in helping others with their consumer problems? Call 11 for Action can use your help.
Are you interested in helping others with their consumer problems? Call 11 for Action can use your help.More >
(Toledo News Now) -
Officials are warning Ohioans to guard against scams related to the Affordable Care Act, sometimes referred to as Obamacare, with open enrollment for the new federally-run health insurance exchange in Ohio running through March 31, 2014. Coverage begins Jan. 1, 2014 for those who select a plan by Dec. 15.
"Scammers often pretend to be associated with the government to make their ploys seem real," said Attorney General Mike DeWine. "We want to warn Ohio families to be on guard for potential scams and to take steps to protect themselves."
Lieutenant Governor and Insurance Director, Mary Taylor, says it's important for Ohioans to understand the facts so they can protect themselves.
"Because the federal law and the exchanges are new and complicated to consumers, Ohioans should be even more cautious about potential scams and fraudulent behavior," said Taylor.
Reports of ACA-related scams initially surfaced in Ohio over the summer. With consumers and small business representatives now shopping for exchange coverage, even more scammers may try to take advantage of people.
Tips to avoid scams:
-Guard your personal information. Legitimate government reps will never contact you unexpectedly and request personal information, such as your Social Security or bank account number. If you do give out personal information tied to a potential scam, immediately inform your banks, credit card providers, and the three major credit bureaus.
You are not required to obtain a new insurance or Medicare card under the ACA. There is not an "Obamacare" insurance card and the ACA does not require Medicare recipients to sign up for new coverage to continue to receive benefits. Anyone who is a legitimate rep of the federal government should not ask you to provide your personal and financial information.
One ploy involves unsolicited calls from scammers who claim to have your new "Obamacare" insurance card, and they just need to get some personal information before they can send it to you. A variation targets those with Medicare, in which callers say they need the person's information so they receive their new Medicare card and continue receiving benefits.
-Never pay upfront fees. Government program reps do not sell insurance or demand upfront payment, and navigators (individuals who can provide information about the ACA) are free.
Navigators, who must be certified by the Ohio Department of Insurance, were created by the federal law to provide information about the exchanges to consumers. Funded by the federal government, navigators are prohibited from recommending specific plans. Navigators who receive certification will be searchable online.
Insurance agents can help Ohioans shop and enroll for exchange coverage, once they have completed training and become certified. Agents are permitted to recommend plans, which are generally those in which they have a contract with that insurer, and help people enroll. A list of Ohio-licensed agents is available online.
Scammers can claim to be a government official or agent in an attempt to steal your personal information, including bank account number. Be certain to review their licensure and certification status before beginning a business relationship.
-Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Promises about "free" medical devices may signal a scam.
-Get information from reliable sources. Watch out for phony websites or individuals who pretend to be associated with the government. Contact the Ohio Department of Insurance and the federal government if you have questions about the ACA.
The new federally-run health insurance exchange in Ohio is an online portal where consumers who need individual health insurance and small businesses can go to secure certain coverage. You can find more information about the federal exchange in Ohio by visiting the only website where Ohioans can enroll.
Bogus websites that purport to be part of the exchanges have been appearing online for more than a year. They often attempt to mirror the look of an official exchange website, but they are not legitimate. Those behind the fake websites claim you can receive subsidies and purchase a policy. They attempt to collect personal information by asking visitors to complete online information forms.
-Report scams or suspicious activity to the proper bureaus. Call the Ohio Attorney General's Office at 1-800-282-0515. You can call the Department of Insurance's new ACA fraud hotline at 1-877-727-6427. Those with questions about health insurance can call 1-800-686-1526.
Sunday, April 20 2014 8:36 AM EDT2014-04-20 12:36:44 GMT
A man got stuck in a porthole at bar in Essex early Sunday morning, authorities confirmed. Few details were provided, but an unidentified man got stuck at the Black Seal on Main Street around 1 a.m. TheMore >
A man got stuck in a porthole at bar in Essex early Sunday morning, authorities confirmed.More >
Sunday, April 20 2014 6:29 AM EDT2014-04-20 10:29:32 GMT
A man has been arrested for murder after a female was found strangled in New Britain early Saturday morning. Luis Velez, 41, of New Britain, was identified as a possible suspect. At about 2:18 a.m.,More >
A man has been arrested after a female was found strangled in New Britain early Saturday morning.More >
Saturday, April 19 2014 12:22 PM EDT2014-04-19 16:22:14 GMT
A man was shot after he refused to move his car out of the way of a driveway belonging to a homeowner in Hartford. According to police, two people were sitting in cars talking when the homeowner returned.More >
A man was shot after he refused to move his car out of the way of a driveway belonging to a homeowner in Hartford. More >
Friday, April 18 2014 10:35 AM EDT2014-04-18 14:35:55 GMT
Connecticut lawmakers have proposed new bill that would ban whole milk from day care centers. The plan is being considered to improve nutrition standards among children and reduce obesity.The AmericanMore >
Connecticut lawmakers have proposed new bill that would ban whole milk from daycare centers. The plan is being considered to improve nutrition standards among children and reduce obesity.More >
Sunday, April 20 2014 1:26 PM EDT2014-04-20 17:26:08 GMT
A hiker was injured while hiking Ragged Mountain in Southington Sunday morning, police said.The Life Star medical helicopter was called to take the unidentified hiker to the hospital around 11:30 a.m.More >
A male climber was seriously injured after falling while climbing at Ragged Mountain in Southington on Sunday morning, fire officials said.More >
Sunday, April 20 2014 8:12 AM EDT2014-04-20 12:12:51 GMT
Police in East Hartford are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed in a three-car crash Saturday afternoon. Crash happened near Forbes Street and Silver Lane around 12:30 p.m. PoliceMore >
Police in East Hartford are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed in a three-car crash Saturday morning.More >
Sunday, April 20 2014 1:49 PM EDT2014-04-20 17:49:55 GMT
Food left cooking on the stove is believed to have caused a fire at an apartment in Willimantic that left 12 people displaced on Easter Sunday.Firefighters were called to a structure fire at 16 ChapmanMore >
Food left cooking on the stove is believed to have caused a fire at an apartment in Willimantic that left 12 people displaced on Easter Sunday.More >
Saturday, April 19 2014 6:02 PM EDT2014-04-19 22:02:04 GMT
A couple from Ledyard got married this afternoon in front of their home that was destroyed in a fire last week. Last Monday, Megan Hunley and Brian Osborne were forced to run from their burning homeMore >
A couple from Ledyard got married this afternoon in front of their home that was destroyed in a fire last week.More >