The ink wasn't dry on the Affordable Care Act when scams started to pop up, prompting a warning from U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
The BBB believes such scams could crop up again, and we want consumers to be skeptical of any attempt to pressure them into buying health insurance from door-to-door salespeople, email sales pitches and pop-up ads on the Internet.
Today's release contains tips as well as contact information for the Missouri and Illinois departments of insurance. Read on:
St. Louis, Mo., July 2, 2012 – The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning
consumers to be on the lookout for scams related to the U.S. Supreme Court’s
ruling that upheld the Affordable Care Act. Scams related to the federal health
insurance law were reported almost as soon as the act was passed, and they’re
likely to surface again.
In 2010, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius notified state attorneys general and insurance commissioners that scammers were knocking on doors to sell phony policies, claiming there was a limited enrollment period and urging consumers to buy quickly. However, it will be two years before
expanded coverage is available, and it’s very unlikely that it then would be sold door-to-door.
“These types of scams often crop up when there is news of a big change in government policy, whether it’s health insurance or tax credits,” said Michelle L. Corey, president and CEO of the BBB in St. Louis. “It is despicable to prey on the
fears of people by threatening them with a fictitious deadline or implying that
they may be required to sign up for something.”
Missouri consumers who suspect fraud can contact the Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-726-7390 or through the insurance department website, insurance.mo.gov. Illinois consumers can contact their state insurance department by calling 1-877-527-9431 or going online to insurance.illinois.gov.
The BBB has tips for consumers who are approached by door-to-door salespeople:
- High-pressure tactics are often a part of fraudulent door-to-door sales and solicitations. Don’t let yourself be hurried, intimidated or coerced.
- If you are interested in buying from a door-to-door seller, get everything in writing, including price, warranty and all conditions. Tell the salesperson you will check over the information and get back to him or her.
- Always ask for proper identification before listening to the pitch.
- Never let a stranger inside your home.
- If you feel threatened, call the police.
- Be skeptical of email offers or pop-up ads touting health insurance. Legitimate insurance companies aren’t likely to contact you online to sell insurance.
If you have concerns about salespeople who are knocking on your door, calling you on the phone, or sending you e-mail, contact the BBB at (314) 645-3300 or at www.bbb.org for a BBB Business Review on the company.