If someone calls you on the phone in West Virginia offering you discount health insurance for $29 a month, hang up and report them to the West Virginia Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
Worthless insurance is one of many scams that unscrupulous people are trying to sell to consumers confused by Obamacare. To satisfy the requirements of the new law, you must have a qualified insurance plan. If you don't, not only will you miss out on cost-saving insurance subsidies, you will probably be subject to a tax penalty.
Beware of scammers who may try to persuade to you buy insurance outside of Healthcare.gov. Below is a list of common types of scams.
Common Obamacare Scams
The “Obamacare Card.” No such card exists. If anyone tries to sell you such a thing, it's a scam.
Unidentified callers asking for sensitive personal information. Watch out for scammers claiming to be from the federal government who request information such as bank routing numbers, your Medicare ID, your Social Security number, or even credit card numbers. If a legitimate government official calls you, they will not ask for this information -- usually, they will already have it on file.
Arrest threats. If you get email, phone calls, or text messages saying you could be arrested for failure to purchase health insurance, it's a scam. Even if you break the law by going without health insurance, you won't be arrested.
Cheap insurance. Be alert to fake websites, faxes, or other communications promising insurance for prices too good to be true. As mentioned above, if someone tries to sell you Obamacare insurance for $29 per month, ignore them -- or better yet, report them.
Impostor navigators and counselors. The Affordable Care Act created funding for trained “navigators” and certified application counselors to help you purchase insurance. Scammers have already begun to prey on senior citizens and low-income individuals by falsely claiming to be navigators and extracting personal information from confused citizens. Here's where to find a legitimate helper in West Virginia.
- False claims that your existing insurance plan has been canceled. Beware emails or phone calls that prompt you to divulge sensitive information by claiming that your health insurance has been canceled. Insurers are required to send you a letter before canceling your insurance plan; respond to it by calling your provider directly. (Here are some tips on what to do if your insurer does in fact cancel your existing plan.)
- Fake "government" websites. Regulators and enforcement agencies have been shutting down sham websites that provide false information about health care options while pretending to be government websites. Be sure you are shopping for coverage only at the official health insurance exchange for West Virginia.
How to File a Complaint Against an Obamacare Scammer in West Virginia
If you think someone has tried to scam you, alert the West Virginia agency that regulates insurance: West Virginia Office of the Insurance Commissioner.