Zoeller: Federal government shutdown escalating scams
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is warning Hoosiers against scammers taking advantage of the federal health insurance enrollment period that began October 1, 2013. Zoeller warns that the additional inability of Hoosiers to get help from the federal government during the shutdown escalates the need for people to be on guard against possible scam artists, who might seek to profit from selling insurance or by gathering personal information to use fraudulently.
“During large-scale government roll-outs, scammers come out of the woodwork to take advantage of any confusion surrounding the program — luring people away from legitimate websites and posing as employees or agents of the agency. Additionally, with many federal agencies closed, help is even harder to find, so it’s necessary for those of us in state offices to fill this vacuum,” Zoeller said.
The Attorney General says Hoosiers need to be cautious and never provide personal financial information or a social security number to anyone that shows up on your doorstep or contacts you by phone to enroll you in the federal insurance program.
Tips to Avoid Scams and resources for assistance include:
• The government will never call or e-mail consumers to solicit enrollment plans. Marketplace options and additional information is available at www.HealthCare.gov <http://www.HealthCare.gov> or at the Help Center, available 24/7, at 1-800-318-2596.
• Anyone claiming to be enrolling consumers in coverage through the Marketplace before October 1 is not legitimate. Be wary of individuals contacting you with a “limited time special.” Rates will remain the same from October 1 to March 31, 2014.
• Navigators, by law, may not charge a fee for service; however, licensed health insurance agents and brokers receive commission from insurance companies for plan enrollment.
• Navigators are there to assist you during the enrolment period.
• Navigators will ask you question about your income, family size, and other relevant personal information to help you make a decision about the type of coverage you want.
• Navigators will ask for the size of the family to determine coverage options and for income information to determine eligibility for tax credits or Medicaid
• Navigators WILL NOT call you to enroll you in health insurance.
• Navigators WILL NOT notify you about special limited time offers.
• You can find your local Navigators at: http://www.healthcare.gov/ <http://www.healthcare.gov/> , and http://www.sircon.com/resource/layout.jsp?page=indianaLps&type=indiana <http://www.sircon.com/resource/layout.jsp?page=indianaLps&type=indiana> .
If a salesperson aggressively pressures you into buying insurance by telling you that you will face jail time if you do not have health insurance, beware — this is not true.
The Indiana Attorney General’s Office is the state’s consumer protection agency. More information on avoiding charity scams is available on the Attorney General’s website at www.IndianaConsumer.com <http://www.IndianaConsumer.com> .
NOTE: A fact sheet about navigating the Affordable Care Act insurance eligibility system is attached.