Health insurance agents, make sure all of your licensing is up to date.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is warning that that people posing as insurance agents or representatives of the federal government are trying to obtain sensitive information like Social Security and bank account numbers in attempts to sell fake policies under Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
The organization of state regulators is telling people to confirm agent licensing with the state regulatory officials.
The warning of fraudsters poised to take advantage of consumers reveals just how much consumers do not know about the PPACA.
As most in the industry know, open enrollment in the new marketplaces begins Oct. 1., but a man-in-the-street poll would reveal many people have no idea aobut the plan, thus creating the need for a PR blitz such as the kind Covered California has implemented, with its $45 million to be spent on “paid media” from now through March, and another $35 million from April through the end of 2014 to get the state’s uninsureds to sign up.
Taking advantage of that lack of awareness are bogus websites that purport to be part of the exchanges, which have been appearing online for more than a year.
The NAIC is thus warning people to not enter any personal or financial information into a website that says you can purchase a policy before the open enrollment period.
Another myth the NAIC fears is that some consumers believe they could go to jail for not having health insurance.
“You will not face jail time if you do not purchase health insurance,” the NAIC consumer alert states comfortingly (perhaps).
However, for those who remain uninsured and do not qualify for any exemptions, there will be a tax penalty that increases each year from 2014 through 2016.