Five Tips for Fighting Fraud: How to Protect Yourself and Your Family
Posted by MADELEINE LOVETTE (From the Blue Cross Blue Shield Blog http://www.bcbs.com/blog/#.UxernvmwJcQ)
Historic changes to our nation’s health insurance system have broadened access to care for millions of Americans. Unfortunately, it also has created an opportunity for criminals and scammers to prey on consumers who are new to purchasing health insurance.
These scammers hope to steal personal health and financial information from unwitting shoppers, but you can prevent them from succeeding.
The Blues want you to have the knowledge and tools to protect yourself and your family against potential health insurance scammers. Follow these five simple tips to ensure that you don’t become a victim of fraud.
- Medicare coverage doesn’t change. No one currently on Medicare needs to sign up for a new Plan or do anything else related to the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare.”) If someone contacts you and claims to be from the government or Medicare and asks you to pay for a new “Obamacare” ID card, it is a scam.
- New health insurance policies are not required for everyone. While the law says that nearly everyone must have health insurance or pay a penalty, the majority of Americans already receive coverage through an employer. Those with employer-based health coverage generally do not need to do anything.
- Never give your personal information to unsolicited visitors or callers. Do not give your personal information to anyone who calls or visits you to talk about insurance under the Affordable Care Act, unless it is in response to an inquiry you have made.
- Be a smart shopper. If you want to buy coverage directly from an insurance company, make sure the company is legitimate. If you are unsure about the company or an agent that you are dealing with, call your state health insurance department and confirm that the company or agent is legitimate and licensed in your state before giving them any information.
- Protect your insurance card. Scammers can also steal your medical identity, which can put you in harm’s way. Protect yourself by guarding your health insurance ID card, which you will receive in the mail upon selecting the health insurance plan of your choice. Treat this card as you would a credit card or your driver’s license. Don’t lend your insurance ID card to others and beware of “shoulder surfers” when you are using your card at a pharmacy, doctor’s office or other public place.
If you think you may have been scammed or you’ve come in contact with someone who has attempted to obtain your personal information, there are several ways to report these incidents.
- If you suspect that someone has attempted to obtain your personal health or financial information report it to your state’s Attorney General’s office.
- If you think your financial information has been stolen by a health insurance scammer, contact your local police department and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission through FTCcomplaintassistant.gov.
- If your health insurance ID card has been lost or stolen, be sure to contact your health insurance company immediately and report the incident to your local police department.
If you have additional questions about fraud, contact us at 1-877-327-BLUE(2583) or STOPFRAUD@bcbsa.com.