Do This Not That! Obamacare Scams to Watch Out For
You can’t have missed all the hoopla concerning what is now disdainfully referred to as Obamacare. Yet, politics and personal viewpoints aside, the reality is that the Affordable Care Act (the real name for Obamacare) is triggering some not so good Obamacare scams and cons.
First, let’s back up a just a little bit and set the stage for this current drama. On one hand you have a well-intentioned Health Care law. Unfortunately, the realities associated with actually implementing such a massive set of regulations has so far proved to be a bit too much for our current administration and its support staff.
Dysfunctional Federal Website
One massive faux pas is that with this new federal health care system the go to website that’s supposed to be the crown jewel of the Affordable Care Act has been a source of embarrassment to the administration and a huge frustration to anyone trying to use it. The site www.healthcare.gov has been plagued with problems from its initial launch. You just have to wonder what’s going on here. If your 11 year old can build a website for you, what’s up with the feds who are earning darned good money to put this site together? Anyway, as you will soon see, this dysfunctional federal website has spawned a range of Obamacare scams all over the internet.
Open Door For Opportunists
The website is being blamed either directly or indirectly for a host of misleading or even illegal schemes that have suddenly popped up all over the internet. One such scheme borrows an oldie but goodie from previous scams. It is, of course, the classic bait and switch. In other words, you can find fake websites. In this scheme, a very official looking website shows up for people searching for help with the new health care law. Note that these sites are professionally designed, and they are keyword and SEO optimized, so they pop up right away.
Unsuspecting Americans that click on these websites find themselves falling down a rabbit hole of tricks and traps. Some of these websites are outright evil; they are only there to capture your personal identification information. Other such sites are there to try and sell you health care insurance or supplemental policies. You will even find that there are some companies out there aggressively pushing rather expensive “add-on” policies.
Cease and Desist Orders
Incredibly, some of these companies are remarkably bold. The websites they throw up on the internet look suspiciously similar to the state health care exchange websites. In fact, this situation has gotten so bad that some states such as New Hampshire have had to issue “cease and desist” orders to the website owners. One challenge faced with lawmakers is the very real difficulty of policing websites. Even if one website is shut down, there is not much in place to prevent another one from popping up the next day. It’s almost like that kid’s game, Wac a Mole.
Navigation Fees, A Different Approach
One more interesting twist in our affordable health care drama that has recently shown up is the appearance of professional navigators. These companies aren’t really doing anything illegal. Actually, you could make the case they are making a timely entrepeneurial play. What these companies are promising (for a fee, of course) is help or assistance to consumers who need help figuring out what the law means to them and what they need to do about it.
Action Steps: What To Do
First, if you feel the need to bitch, contact your Congressman first. Remember this is a law passed by our representatives, so if you don’t like it, go right back to where it came from.
Next up, if you are doing research online, follow some common sense rules that you are already familiar with to avoid these Obamacare scams. Be cautious with any site that asks for any of your personal identification material. Also, if you are searching for a state health care exchange, make sure the site is legitimate. Oftentimes, states have other materials that clearly spell out the website address. One more thing, don’t forget there’s always that device you have right there in front of you, your cell phone. Use it to apply over the phone.
So what’s your take on this? Post your answer right here.