Consumers warned to be cautious of health insurance scams
Health insurance exchanges have officially launched throughout the U.S. as part of the Affordable Care Act. The exchanges are meant to provide people throughout the country with access to affordable health insurance plans. So far, these exchanges have been quite popular, with consumers flocking to the virtual marketplaces to find policies. In New York’s exchange, more than 10 million people attempted to purchase coverage through the state’s exchange on its first day. While these health insurance exchanges seem popular with consumers, they are also attractive to malicious parties that may be looking to exploit the confusion that still surrounds the Affordable Care Act.
Malicious parties target confused consumers
Throughout the U.S., insurance officials are warning consumers to be wary of fraudulent exchange initiatives. In Montana, the Office of Consumer Protection has issued a list of tips that can help keep consumers safe from health insurance scams. One of the most important aspects of protection, according to state officials, is education. Consumers that do not have a deep understanding of the health care law are being encouraged to visit healthcare.gov in order to find all the information they need concerning health insurance.
Exchanges do not reach out to consumers directly
Furthermore, consumers are being warned not to share important information, such as social security and bank account number, with companies that contact them first. While these organizations may claim to represent state-based health insurance exchanges, the actual exchanges themselves do not reach out to consumers directly. Consumers are also being warned to be cautious of any sign-up or application fees they may encounter. Applying for coverage through state-based exchanges is free, though the policies do come with monthly premiums, as is standard.
Malicious websites could compromise financial information
Those receiving emails from supposed health insurance representatives are being warned not to follow any links that these emails may have. These links could lead to malicious websites that contain viruses designed to access a consumer’s financial information. Officials throughout the U.S. have been working to combat fraud for some time, but fraud is expected to spike as malicious parties look to capitalize on the confusion surrounding health insurance.