The most significant of the Obamacare reforms take effect Jan. 1, 2014, and are receiving a lot of publicity. They’re also bringing out the scam artists.
Here are some points you need to know.
Medicare beneficiaries aren’t required to make any changes because of Obamacare. There are no Obamacare cards or similar documents for anyone. The government won’t be signing you up for a plan. If you’re not in Medicare, either you sign up for an individual plan or your employer or insurer will do it. If you need to change coverage, your employer or current insurer will tell you.
There will be a number of people called “navigators” to help explain new insurance options. A legitimate navigator won’t ask for a fee. The legitimate navigators are paid by the state. The main goal of the con artists, whether they are pretending to be navigators or something else, is to steal your identity. They want people to divulge their personal information, often by saying they need the information in order to issue the new Obamacare card or to sign them up for their new insurance plan. They’re lying.
Another way people exploit Obamacare is by selling fake or minimal medical insurance to people and saying it is part of the new law. The new coverage is available only through the official insurance exchanges, which you’ll be able to contact directly through either the official web site or telephone numbers.
The new law is overseen by the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (www.cms.gov). You’ll be able to learn about the insurance marketplaces through the official web site www.HealthCare.gov after the exchanges are launched. It also plans to have a 24-hour toll-free telephone service at 800-318-2596.