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How to avoid open enrollment health care scams

Better Business Bureau offers tips to avoid scammers preying on health care buyers

SAN ANTONIO – Open enrollment is a time when many can sign up for vital health care through their employers or the health insurance marketplace. It’s also when scammers prey on people who may not be familiar with purchasing health insurance.

This year, open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act runs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15, and the Medicare open enrollment runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.

While the deadlines are a few months away, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning people about scammers who try to steal personal information from those looking for health coverage during this time of year.

One scam the BBB is warning about involves a caller claiming to be a “health care benefits advocate” or a similar title. The caller will then say they can enroll you in a cheaper plan than the one you have without giving up any benefits.

In a different version of this scam, the BBB says the caller may try to frighten you and tell you there’s an issue with your health insurance. The crook will then say the only way to fix the problem is by re-enrolling you in your plan.

The BBB says you can avoid these types of scams with the following tips:

  • Be cautious of anyone who contacts you unsolicited, and be especially wary of callers who threaten you or require immediate action.
  • Decline promotional gifts in exchange for your personal information.
  • Beware of dishonest health care brokers who offer “free health care screenings,” as this could be a way to weed out less healthy people.
  • Guard your personal information, including your government-issued ID number, Social Security number or banking information.
  • If you feel a call is a scam, hang up and visit the health care website yourself or directly call your health care provider.

For more tips, visit bbb.org/healthcarescam.


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