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Watch out for these health care scams, Sedgwick County official warns

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, at 5:24 p.m.

As Americans are signing up for coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, scams are inevitably popping up.

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett on Thursday warned local consumers to watch out for fake sign-up help and for phony insurance offers operating under the guise of the health care act, also known as Obamacare. Many, he said, ask for personal information or payment for services, or they try to sell bogus policies. The scams include:

The Affordable Care Act insurance card: Con artists try to convince people they need a card to buy coverage. No card exists.

ObamacareApp Enabler: Callers claiming to be government employees ask to confirm a consumer’s eligibility and for Social Security numbers and medical information. Federal agencies do not make contact by phone or e-mail, Bennett said. “This is a scam,” he said. “Hang up, please.”

Fake Obamacare navigators: These adviser positions were created to help the public sign up for health care coverage. Legitimate navigators usually work for the United Way or other local agencies, or they may be encountered on legitimate sign-up websites, Bennett said. They do not make calls.

Phony sign-up websites: Rely on www.healthcare.gov or www.ksinsurance.org for information on obtaining coverage.

Medicare scare tactic: Callers to Medicare customers say they’ll lose coverage if they don’t provide a Social Security number and other personal financial information. Bennett said Medicare is not part of the the health insurance marketplace; it does not offer Medicare supplement insurance or Part D drug plans.

To avoid the scams, Bennett suggested consumers ignore any unsolicited calls and e-mails regarding the Affordable Care Act and to withhold private information unless they initiate contact. He also advised those seeking legitimate information about the health care act and health insurance exchanges to go to www.healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2595.

Reach Amy Renee Leiker at 316-268-6644 or aleiker@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @amyreneeleiker.

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