Avoid health care fraud
Health insurance reforms are bringing big changes. Unfortunately, criminals take advantage of change or confusion to try to get your money or identity.
People might try to sell you fake insurance or steal your identity by telling you they need your Social Security number or other personal information for a "national health insurance card." There is no such card.
Some imposters already have called people claiming to be from Medicare and saying they needed personal information because of upcoming changes. No one from the government calls out of the blue and asks for personal information.
Here are ways you can avoid health insurance schemes.
- Work through an agent or insurance company you know or visit Cover Oregon at www.coveroregon.com for help with insurance decisions. Cover Oregon is the state's new insurance marketplace and is a public corporation. It has people trained to explain your options.
- If you do not already have an agent, you can visit Cover Oregon for help in finding an agent or work with the other trained professionals who can help you.
- Look for a "Summary of Benefits and Coverage" on legitimate health insurance plans. This summary will say whether the plan provides "minimum essential coverage." Most people who are on their own to buy an individual (non-group) plan will need coverage that contains required benefits to avoid a penalty in 2014. You will have from Oct. 1, 2013, through March 31, 2014, to shop for a plan so you do not have to rush.
- Be suspicious of anyone who visits your home unannounced, calls you out of the blue, or sends emails offering coverage at too-good-to-be-true prices. Medicare and other government officials do not call out of the blue and ask for your Medicare card number.
- Do not volunteer a Social Security number or a credit or debit card number to anyone you do not personally know. Do not sign any paperwork or write a check with these people.
- Remember this simple formula: STOP - CALL - CONFIRM. Stop to ask a salesperson for identification and a phone number. Call the Oregon Insurance Division or Cover Oregon to find out if an insurance company, agent, or other person is authorized to help you. You can reach the Insurance Division at 888-877-4894 (toll-free) and Cover Oregon at 855-268-3767 (toll-free).