Better Business Bureau: Scammers Take Advantage of Health Reform

Con artists are always seizing on the public’s financial struggles and confusion in order to make a quick buck. Not long ago we saw them come out of the woodworks during the housing crisis and now we are seeing a pattern again as health care reform laws are upheld.

Scammers are already trying to cash in on the fact that there is still confusion about health reform. Hawai‘i’s BBB is warning consumers that these scammers are trying to sell fake “Obamacare” policies over the phone and other health care policies under the guise of being able to be grandfathered into a policy before the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is “official”. Some of these scam artists have even set up toll-free numbers to sell these fake policies.

The con-artists attempt to create a sense of urgency by telling consumers that there is a limited enrollment period and coverage is required by law. Often, these thieves can’t explain what is covered by the policy nor do they have any answers related directly to healthcare that are not very general.

Here are a few things to keep in mind if someone solicits you about obtaining new health insurance.

  • There is no open enrollment period currently associated with the new law, so if the salesperson is pressuring you to buy the policy because the price or option is only good for a short time, be wary.
  • You may have heard that all Americans will be required to purchase health insurance under the new law, but this requirement does not go into effect until 2014 for most people. If a salesperson implies you have to purchase coverage now, hang up the phone immediately.
  • If a salesperson claims that by getting a different coverage now that you will be “grandfathered” or exempted from changes required by the health care reform law in the future. It is a red flag as this is no longer true.

Hawai‘i’s BBB recommends that you don’t sign a contract or send money before you check out the company you plan on doing business with. Consumers have resources such as Hawai‘i’s BBB and the States Insurance Commissioner (808-586-2790, 808-586-2799, they can check with before doing business with a company. Stay safe, healthy and informed!

Complaints or Questions, contact BBB:

808-536-6956 (O‘ahu)
877-222-6551 (Neighbor Islands)


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