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Health Care Reform and the
Informed Consumer

 

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As most of us know, the health insurance landscape is about to change. Starting October 1, 2013, the Affordable Care Act, through the Health Insurance Marketplace, will bring coverage options to those who are uninsured, underinsured, or buy their own coverage. The Marketplace is designed to be a resource tool to help you find acceptable coverage that fits your needs and budget. But beware! Scammers are already at work!

 

If you receive a call from someone who tries to sign you up for anything before October 1st, they are trying to scam you.  According to a representative at the Health Insurance Marketplace, the federal government will not call you directly. If your current benefits are affected in any way, you will receive a letter in the mail and be asked to respond accordingly. If you receive a phone call, email, or any direct solicitation from anyone regarding your benefits, especially if they are asking for your personal information or requesting payment, report them to the Federal Trade Commission. Try and find out as much as you can about the caller (name, location, phone number), and report them online or by phone at 1-877-FTC-HELP. 

The key is to know where to go to find answers. Healthcare.gov is the government website with all the resources you need to get started. On this website, there is a “live chat” option where you can speak with someone regarding your specific questions or concerns. You can also speak directly with a customer service representative by calling 1-800-318-2596, 24-hours a day, seven days a week. You can sign-up for alert notices to keep you “in the loop” of what’s going on and any policy changes. The Kaiser Foundation also has an online cost-calculator that will help you determine what you may be paying for coverage. 

Remember, enrollment into the Marketplace begins October 1, 2013. Coverage starts as early as January 1, 2014, so early planning is key. Know your options, and know your rights! Don’t get scammed!

 

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