Madigan urges Illinois residents to be on lookout for scams in
Affordable Care Act rollout
advice on how to avoid scammers
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[October 02, 2013]
CHICAGO -- As more than 1
million individuals, families and small businesses in Illinois start
to sign up for health insurance and financial assistance through the
Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace, Attorney General Lisa Madigan
urges Illinois residents to educate themselves and use caution to
avoid scam artists who may try to take advantage of this new
The Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace is a new online store
where Illinois residents and small businesses can compare and enroll
in medical and dental insurance. The insurance plans available
through the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace are approved by
the federal government for Illinois residents as part of the
Affordable Care Act. Additionally, individuals who enroll through
the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace will be able to determine
whether they qualify for Medicaid coverage under the expanded
Medicaid program, or for tax credits to help offset their insurance
Certified specialists trained by the Illinois
Department of Insurance or the federal government will be available
in Illinois to help individuals and small businesses enroll in an
insurance plan through the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace.
Scammers taking advantage
Unfortunately, as with any new government program, con artists
will take advantage of the change and potential confusion. In some
cases, these criminals will try to collect personal or financial
information to steal your identity and your money. In other cases,
unscrupulous salespeople will try to sell "discount medical plans."
Those so-called discount plans may be insurance plans that really do
not save you money, or they may not be legitimate health insurance
plans at all.
Tips to avoid scams
The government will not charge for its services.
You never have to pay to receive this help. If you receive
an offer to sign up on the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace
for a fee, you should hang up, delete or walk away. Do not give
cash, your credit card or banking information to someone you do
not know or did not contact.
Make sure any
specialist you work with is certified. If you are working
with a specialist, make sure the specialist is certified. To
confirm you are working with a certified specialist, consumers
can visit the Illinois Department of Insurance website:
http://insurance.illinois.gov/. Starting Oct. 1, names of
certified specialists will be added to the searchable database
on a rolling basis, so check back periodically.
Never open your door to a stranger,
even if they claim to be a certified specialist. Instead,
consult the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace to learn about
the options you have and what you qualify for.
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personal information. Do not give out your Social Security
number, bank account number, or other sensitive personal or
financial information to someone who calls you, emails you or
comes to your door. However, be aware that when you enroll for
an insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you
will be asked to provide your Social Security number and payment
information, among other personal information. Before you do
this, make sure you are on the official website, and if you sign
up in person, ask the specialist who is helping you to look away
while you enter this information online.
Medicare is not affected by the Affordable Care Act, and you
cannot enroll in Medicare through the Illinois Health Insurance
Marketplace. You should not share your Medicare number with
anyone who contacts you uninvited. If you have Medicare
questions, call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-877-9392).
Health Insurance Marketplace does not offer Medicare.
Consumers who enroll for insurance through the
Health Insurance Marketplace can be sure they are accessing
approved insurance plans and at the same time determine, based
on their income, whether they are eligible for Medicaid coverage
under the newly expanded program, or for tax credits to help
offset their premium payments.
Use the Illinois
Health Insurance Marketplace for one-stop, safe insurance
Illinois residents who have questions
about how to enroll in insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act
or have other general inquiries should visit
http://getcoveredillinois.gov/ or call 1-866-311-1119. Consumers
who wish to report a fraudulent solicitation should visit
http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/ to download a
complaint form or call the attorney general's Consumer Fraud
Finally, to report identity theft, consumers should call their
local police and then call the attorney general's Identity Theft
Hotline at 1-866-999-5630 (TTY 1-877-844-5461).
[Text from file received from the office
Illinois Attorney General Lisa