Since the health exchanges began operation on October 1st, they've not only been plagued with computer glitches, but now there's a scam involving the Affordable Care Act.
The Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland says individuals have called consumers, claiming to be from the federal government. They tell consumers will be issued special insurance cards under the Affordable Care Act when they sign up for a health care plan. In order to do that, the consumer needs to provide personal information, such as Social Security and bank account numbers.
"Don't reveal any personal information on a call such as that, and just plain hang up," says Jody Thomas, Vice President, Communications, BBB of Greater Maryland, who adds that you won't receive a card after signing up for a health insurance plan through the exchanges. Thomas also says the federal government usually contacts citizens through the US Postal Service. Very rarely, does it use the telephone, e-mails or text messages.
"We are warning consumers to be cautious with your identity. Don't give out that personal information. You don't know whose calling you," she says. If you do, someone could use that data to steal your identity, says the BBB.
There haven't been incidents of this scam reported in Maryland so far, but Thomas says they're expected to increase as more consumers use the health exchanges to purchase health insurance.
"And in terms of caller i.d., it's not fool proof," Thomas adds. "There is a thing called 'spoofing,' where they can make their caller i.d. appear to be something it isn't. So it might say 'health care' on your phone. you can't trust what that says."
If you're planning to use the health care exchanges to enroll in an insurance plan, Thomas says go legitimate websites, such as www.healthcare.gov, or www.MarylandHealthConnection.gov.