Consumer Alert: Scam Artists Seizing on Recent U.S. Supreme Court Ruling to Take Advantage of Consumers

The Louisiana Department of Insurance is warning consumers to be aware of scam artists seeking to capitalize on the recent U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on health care. Since the ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), scam artists have already started reaching out to consumers with the intention of stealing their personal information.

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says the Louisiana Department of Insurance will maintain its zero tolerance policy against insurance fraud and will investigate all complaints. “Scam artists may make calls and claim to be with government agencies or health care insurers, and then request personal information such as social security numbers, bank account information, and credit card numbers,” said Commissioner Jim Donelon. “It’s unfortunate that scammers are trying to take advantage of an issue of such critical importance and deceive consumers.”

The Louisiana Department of Insurance advises consumers to beware of the following:

Unsolicited phone calls from parties identifying themselves as being with a government agency or a health care insurer. Some callers may already know your bank’s routing number. This is an attempt on their behalf to get you to divulge your entire account number. Questions and inquiries regarding credit card and Social Security numbers, Medicare IDs, and other personal information are all indicators that you are talking to scam artists.

PPACA requires that all Americans above a certain income level purchase health insurance or face a penalty tax, but this requirement will not go into effect until 2014. If the salesperson or “agent” suggests that it is necessary to immediately purchase health insurance, this is a red flag.

There is no open enrollment period currently associated with the new health care law, so if the salesperson is pressuring you to buy the policy because the price or option is only good for a short time, be wary. Before you write a check or sign a contract for one of these policies, call the Department of Insurance to make sure the insurance company and agent are licensed and carefully read the contract to make sure you understand the coverage and limitations of the policy.

Do not give out personal or financial information in response to unsolicited phone calls, emails or knocks on your door. Disclosing this information can put you at high risk for identity theft, credit card fraud, fraudulent checks, and unauthorized loans and credit cards in your name.

Before you sign a document or make a payment, contact the Louisiana Department of Insurance and confirm that the policy, agent and/or company are legitimate. You may contact the Louisiana Department of Insurance at 1-800-259-5300, or visit ldi.la.gov to search for this information or to file a complaint against such fraudulent activity.

For more information on PPACA, you can visit the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website healthcare.gov.

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