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Using the Health Care Bill to Separate You from Your Money

Using the Health Care Bill to Separate You from Your Money

It’s all about taking your money.

The Patient Affordable Health Care Act is lengthy and confusing enough as it is. Add the hype and the wild fabrications of the past year to the mix and you’ve got a prescription for scammers to swoop right in and take advantage of the situation.

NPR reports that within days of President Obama signing the bill into law, an ad on cable television prodded viewers to call an 800 number to take advantage of the “limited enrollment” period “now that health care legislation has passed.” Buyer beware: there is no limited enrollment period.

There are also reports of “Obamacare” insurance policies being sold door-to-door. I like to think that most folks are intelligent enough to know that there is no insurance company or health policy called “Obamacare,” or anything having to do with the new law that should be peddled door-to-door.

In just the past few months, we’ve touched upon the fraud having to do with Haiti Relief efforts and the H1N1 vaccine program. There are always going to be scammers ready to pounce on a fresh source of income, and health care reform is no exception. It comes as a ready-made ball of confusion.

One of the early benefits of the legislation, and one which easily lends itself to the rip off scheme, is the $250 prescription drug rebate for seniors who fall in to the Medicare doughnut hole. Swindlers will be working overtime in an effort to take advantage, most likely attempting to act as a middleman, presenting themselves as a person who could help you get your rebate in return for a fee.

Another benefit that will come to pass early on is the creation of high-risk pools for adults with pre-existing conditions who have not been able to secure individual insurance, a virtual gold-mine for thieves who would sell bogus policies to desperate people. Careful fact-checking will help you avoid this pitfall.

The Patient Affordable Health Care Act will benefit a great many people, but if it sounds too good to be true… you’d better check it out. A few red flags:

  • You’re getting the bums rush – Never allow yourself to be rushed or coerced into making decisions, signing paperwork, or giving personal or financial information.
  • The phony government agent – No government agent will be knocking on your door or sending you an email to solicit your medical or financial information.
  • The cold call – Unsolicited phone calls from people wanting to sell health insurance or act as a go-between. Insist on initiating contact with reputable companies — and look up the phone number yourself. The same goes for unsolicited emails that include website links — always type the proper url into your browser’s address bar.
  • No license – Make sure you are dealing with an insurer licensed to do business in your state.

The health care reform package may be a complicated one but, as always, it is up to individual consumers to educate and protect themselves.

Additional Resources

The Kaiser Family Foundation: Health Care Reform Implementation TimelineSummary of Coverage ProvisionsChanges to Medicare Part D Drug Benefit Coverage Gap

National Association of Insurance Commissioners: Contacts for all State Insurance Commissioners

Related Reading on Care2

Tools to Keep Track of Health Care Policy and Reform

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Photo: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1237499


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87 comments

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1:12PM PDT on Jul 26, 2010

Thanks.

8:15AM PDT on Apr 11, 2010

Bravo!!!!!!!

8:12AM PDT on Apr 11, 2010

When are they going to regulate the drug companies??? $20.00 for one pill??? Dr's by passing generic brands for more expensive brands?? Overpriced meds for nursing home residents? Dr's who cheat medicare??

9:48PM PDT on Apr 7, 2010

I already got one of those "cold calls" (and I am on the "do not call list"). I knew immediately that it was some sort of scam, and when I started asking the guy a lot of questions, he finally hung up on me! Just be careful. A lot of our older citizens could be easily taken advantage of.

Any time my parents got a call fromanyone, they always told the caller, "I'll have to ask my daughter about that. She's a lawyer. She handles all of our business." Most of the time, the person never called me. Tell your older relatives to watch out for these scams. They can be taken in an instant. They are usually the most vulnerable of their prey.

4:44PM PDT on Apr 7, 2010

There is good advice in this article for seniors and young people.

3:02AM PDT on Apr 7, 2010

thanks for post

5:52PM PDT on Apr 6, 2010

There's only one way to deal with scammers, crooks and all those parasites who prey on others and that'sas in monopoly.
Go straight to jail w/out using (a senseless corrupt jury) and throw the key away.

10:56AM PDT on Apr 6, 2010

Right, thanks for the information and input from all, but I need to ask, WHAT MONEY? I sure don't have any left after paying half my income for rent. Guess that's what they mean by "limited income".
Oh, yeagh, Thank Ronald R. for deregulating the Rx companies and allowing them to advertise with money which did/should/could be used for R & D.
At least the Bush family income was protected by the "part D"
No wonder America is on anti-depressants or "happy pills"..
Take care

9:25AM PDT on Apr 6, 2010

Thanks for the post. Lots to think about

9:27PM PDT on Apr 5, 2010

Big Pharma will kill us all. At this time, they do not even complete clinical trials prior to putting them on the market. The patients become the guinea pigs. After the companies make 100 million, then the drug is pulled from the market. After they have killed and injured thousands. They pay out a few million and still come out ahead. It's been going on for years. They lie about the trials they do and say their drugs are safe. Clinical trials should be completed by an independent agency with a series of checks and balances. It is the only way to insure the safety of the people. I can't remember whether they are the 5th or 6th leading cause of death in the US. I just refuse to take any of their drugs. If you have to take any, keep it to a minimum. You start mixing them and you have the potential for thousands of problems. Drugs are a last resort for me. The drug companies want to keep everyone on medications, sick or not. Some good books on the drug cartel: Racketeering in Medicine, Selling Sickness, and Confessions of a Medical Heretic. You won't believe the stunts these companies pull.

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