In recent years, a wave of renovation has changed the way our nation’s health care system works. These changes have been implemented with the hope that more people, regardless of financial status, will be able to purchase health insurance and enjoy quality medical care. But elder caregiver fraud attorneys in San Francisco have expressed concerns that people may use these reforms to jeopardize, rather than raise, the quality of affordable care for older Americans.
In California, the first of the wave of reforms will be coming in October of this year, called “Covered California.” This change will guarantee that all people, even those currently without, will be allowed access to health insurance, and those who already do have coverage can shop around, comparing premiums, benefits, and overall packages that will begin in January 2014. People who are already enrolled in Medicare plans will not be affected by the changes in the new plan. Residents who currently are above the minimum income limit for Medi-Cal may be eligible for these plans next year, after the existing Medi-Cal expires, and others may be eligible to apply for tax credits that can reduce insurance premiums.
Covered California will provide enrollment counselors to help users understand the new insurance choices available, along with brokers and agents to help ensure smooth enrollment processes. But these changes, and the newly hired and trained staff members, open the door to identity thieves and scammers. People buying insurance, especially older Californians, are in the process of learning about the plans they have chosen, as well as the people working with their new insurance companies. Thus, they are not always able to catch an unknown caller asking for sensitive information, such as social security and credit card numbers.
Elder caregiver fraud attorneys in San Francisco say that several such calls have already begun circulating California, and urge residents to be aware of these scams. Imposters have been calling residents on Medicare, asking for credit information and insurance policy numbers to comply with new health insurance laws. The Federal Trade Commission has also reported a scam in which an official-sounding caller claims to need personal and financial information in order to send new health care cards.
The federal government and representatives from Covered California have stated that they will not be making phone calls to alert residents about the reformed health insurance plans, warning users to never give out their secure information over the phone. Callers who are demanding personal information, insisting that the law requires new health insurance plans for everyone, offers unsolicited help in understanding the new plan, or encourages residents to participate in an early enrollment plan before October, are likely running a scam. Older Californians are especially susceptible, as a majority is currently on Medicare, and new options for insurance are available to the retired or unemployed.
At Evans Law Firm, Inc., a San Francisco law firm, the elder caregiver fraud attorneys offer legal advice and representation to elder residents who have fallen victim to health insurance and other financial frauds. Call today for a consultation: 415-441-8669.