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Scam Sites Appear In Wake Of Health Insurance Marketplace

There are health care mimic sites that can be misleading when consumers are trying to sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Providing any information to one of these mimic sites can result in you receiving phone calls from insurance companies outside of the of the marketplace. That means these companies cannot offer the discount plans that are only available at healthcare.gov.

However, there are people involved that don't want to just sell you health insurance.

"Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in March 2010, unscrupulous scammers have been creating ways to take advantage of consumers’ uncertainty surrounding the law," says Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger in a press release.

She says that scam artists pose as insurance agents or representatives of the federal government and try to sell fraudulent policies or obtain sensitive information like Social Security and bank account numbers.

According to the release, you can protect yourself by being mindful of these warning signs:

  • The salesperson says the premium offer is only good for a limited time. Enrollment in the exchanges is open from Oct. 1 to March 31, 2014, and rates for plans in the exchanges will have been approved for the entire enrollment period. Be skeptical of someone who is trying to pressure you into buying a policy because the rate is only good for a short time. Remember: if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • The salesperson says you could go to jail for not having health insurance. Starting in 2014, all Americans will be required to have health insurance. You will not face jail time if you do not purchase health insurance. However, those who remain uninsured and do not qualify for any exemptions will face a penalty of $95 (for each adult) or 1 percent of family income, whichever is greater. In 2015, the penalty will increase to $325 per adult or 2 percent of family income, and in 2016 and beyond, the penalty will be $695 per adult or 2.5 percent of family income.
  • You receive an unsolicited phone call or email from someone trying to sell insurance. The federal government and state insurance departments will not be contacting individual consumers to sell them insurance. Do not give any sensitive information to anyone who claims to be with the federal government, your state insurance department or a navigator for your state’s exchange.

The correct sites for the marketplaces are healthcare.gov and insureKS.org. Are you still confused about the Affordable Care Act? Take a look at the recap of our call-in show to help clear up questions that you might have.