Beware of scammers trying to sell government health care coverage


HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — More than 200,000 Americans have signed up for Affordable Care Act health plans during the extended enrollment period that runs through May 15.

President Joe Biden ordered the enrollment period because so many people have lost their jobs to the pandemic, along with their health coverage.

It’s about triple the number for the same period last year as people scramble to find a new plan. Scammers are using the high demand to try to “sell” you coverage.

No one will contact you — either by phone, text or email — to sell you coverage from the Health Insurance Marketplace. A legitimate representative may call you to verify information but only after you have already registered.

The marketplace has trained assisters to help you with registration and follow-up at no cost. You should never be asked to pay for services or help to apply for marketplace coverage.

The customer service representative will say they are calling from the marketplace and provide a first name and agent identification number. Write those down.

Here’s what they can ask you: They can ask you to verify information you’ve already provided on the application, such as full name, address, social security number, date of birth or phone number.

They cannot ask for your personal health information, bank name, account numbers, or other financial info, and they cannot ask you to pay them.

And here’s a red flag: A legitimate representative will not use the term “Obamacare.” Officially, it’s known as the Health Insurance Marketplace.

If you think you’ve been a victim of this kind of scam, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

Click here for ways to get involved in National Consumer Protection Week.

Click here for information on how the Virginia Attorney General’s Office is working to protect Virginians.

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