CAUTION: Obamacare ScamsTarget Northern Michigan Elderly
The launch of the website for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, has been bumpy at best. As is often the case when new changes are on the way, scam artists are taking advantage of the confusion. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been busy logging complaints from seniors and their families. Many have been the victim of a scam or a target for one. It has led to the FTC to warn to seniors not to fall for it.
The biggest complaint so far has been seniors receiving calls from people claiming to work for Medicare or the Obama administration. These individuals are telling older adults they are required to give them their Medicare and/or bank account numbers so they can issue new “national medical cards” for them. They incorrectly inform seniors that all older adults must have these cards under the new Affordable Care Act. That information is entirely without merit. Medicare cards will remain the same. Also, understand that no Medicare recipient will receive legitimate, unsolicited calls about health care changes from any government agency.
What can you do to protect your senior loved one from these types of scams? Here are a few ways to keep them safe:
- Encourage the older adults in your life to simply hang up if someone calls claiming to be from the government. No one from Medicare or the Obama administration will call them. Some of the scare tactics these people use can be very intimidating. It is best not to even engage them in a conversation.
- Remind your senior loved ones not to give out any personal or financial information over the phone.
- If your loved one isn’t old enough to participate in Medicare they may find the Affordable Care Act especially confusing. They will be required to have insurance or face a penalty, but they will not be subject to jail time as some of these scam artists are claiming. Penalties are fines that are levied as a part of the yearly income tax process.
- If you are helping your aging loved ones sign up a plan under the Affordable Care Act, double-check the site’s web address. You want to make sure you are using a legitimate site and that you haven’t been re-directed.
If you have more questions about the Affordable Care Act and Medicare, the Medicare website has great resources available to answer your questions.