Officials warn of fraud in lead up to Affordable Care Act enrollment

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by Diana Zoga / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on September 17, 2013 at 6:04 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 17 at 6:20 PM

 (KMOV) -- As medical insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act begin enrollment in two weeks, officials are warning about the potential for fraud and scams.

The Federal Trade Commission put out a warning this summer, writing that con artists were calling people at random, claiming to work for the government.  Using the Affordable Care Act implementation as a reason for the call, the person asks to verify information like Social Security numbers, Medicare ID, or other personal data.

Since then the Better Business Bureau offered a warning of its own, adding that scammers can spoof a phone number on Caller ID to make the call look more legitimate.

The BBB’s Chris Thetford says he’s concerned the environment is ripe for this kind of fraud.

“The reason it’s manifesting itself is because there is so much uncertainty.  The thieves and scammers know when there is so much uncertainty in the market, they can take advantage of that,” said Thetford.

The Missouri Foundation for Health, a nonprofit, is legitimately working to help the uninsured navigate the Affordable Care Act.  Ryan Barker says he’s especially concerned that phony brokers will attempt to charge uninsured people for assistance in getting insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

“Part of what we’re doing is an awareness outreach campaign, making it very clear to consumers that you should never be paying for consumer assistance.  So, there will be people out there, navigators, they have to be licensed, certified by the federal government, and it should be free,” said Barker.

If you need to find assistance in navigating the health insurance exchange, there is a hotline you can call for assistance. 

The Health Insurance Marketplace launches on October 1st on www.healthcare.gov.  

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