The 2020 health insurance open enrollment has begun. Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act started on November 1 and ends on December 15, while Medicare open enrollment started on October 15 and runs until December 7. These enrollment periods, both of which are about forty-five days in length, offer significant opportunity for scammers to collect some of the most intimate information on unsuspecting victims.
What the Scam May Look Like:
You may be called, and unknowingly, recorded by someone offering to help you handle your Medicare or ACA options. They may refer to themselves as “healthcare benefits advocates” or something of that sort. The caller will claim that they are in contact with you to assist you with the registration process.
They will request that you provide personal information to further the process. Often, the information they will request can be:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- Driver’s license number
- Income tax returns or copy of recent pay stubs
This call is a hoax! And your sharing any personal information over the phone will make you vulnerable to identity theft.
How do you navigate the process of enrolling for ACA or Medicare?
If you receive an unsolicited call from someone claiming that they are from Medicare or a broker for the Affordable Care Act, be wary! Under no circumstance will a broker or the institution call you directly if you are not already requesting more information from them. In the instance that someone does call you claiming to be from these institutions, hang up, and then call the number provided on the government website. They will be able to confirm or deny that the call was from them. Be suspicious of unsolicited calls.
To be certified to sell to you any of the ACA products, a salesperson would have to go through the official certification for the Federally-Facilitated Marketplace. This process includes the verification of the broker through the credit bureaus. These brokers are held to high standards to ensure the safety of the consumers. Therefore, if someone claiming to be a broker called you unsolicited, it could be a scammer. Often, the scammer will offer promotional gifts to entice the person to “sign-up” with them. Remember, there is no such thing as a free lunch – if you give the unknown person your information without verifying them or going directly through the government hub, it could put you at risk for a surprising, costly identity theft incident down the line.
Not all those who claim to be brokers are scammers; some brokers will be dishonest with you to weed out the unhealthy individuals who are applying for healthcare benefits. They will often offer free health screenings. This is a tactic that is against Medicare policy called “cherry picking”. Although this may not lead to identity theft, it has the possibility to prevent you from getting the benefits you need.
The best advice that we can give you to navigate the process of getting healthcare benefits during open enrollment is for you to contact the government agencies directly. Even if someone calls you claiming to be from the agency, verify that assertion by hanging up and contacting them through the number provided on their website.
For Medicare, their official website is Medicare.gov
For Affordable Care Act Marketplace Health Plans, the official website is Healthcare.gov
LibertyID provides expert, full service, fully managed identity theft restoration to individuals, couples, extended families* and businesses. LibertyID has a 100% success rate in resolving all forms of identity fraud on behalf of our subscribers.
*Extended families – primary individual, their spouse/partner, both sets of parents (including those that have been deceased for up to a year), and all children under the age of 25