Healthcare News & Insights

Fraudsters selling ‘Obamacare’ insurance to seniors

It was only a matter of time.

The County of San Bernardino (California) Department of Aging and Adult Services has issued a warning that scammers are posing as government officials and contacting senior citizens in the area by phone, e-mail, and even in person. They ask if the person has health insurance. If the answer is no, they threaten to send them to jail for allegedly not adhering to federal health policies. Then they offer to sell the victim “Obamacare insurance” which will supposedly keep them out of jail.

It shouldn’t need stating, but: There is no Obamacare insurance, these seniors aren’t going to be hauled off to jail and the scam is a blatant misreading of the provisions of the recent health care reforms. For the record, in 2014, citizens will be required to have health care coverage — but there will be access to public programs for those who don’t have private insurance. And those who still don’t procure coverage only face graduated fines, not jail time.

While this scam appears to be limited to San Bernardino, so far, it’s worth keeping an eye out for similar frauds in other parts of the country. It’s also a reminder to all health professionals that there are still a lot of people who don’t understand how health care reform actually effects them — and there are plenty of people spreading misinformation.

If you suspect someone has been a victim of these particular con artists, authorities encourage you to call law enforcement or San Bernardino Adult Protective Services at 877-565-2020.

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