Avoid fraud in the healthcare insurance marketplace

Be cautious as you shop for insurance in the marketplace. Work with trained navigators and certified applicant counselors to avoid fraud.

Many individuals are searching for the right healthcare plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Michigan State University Extension advises individuals who are searching for healthcare in the Marketplace to be aware of possible fraud. Some easy things to do are to look for government logos and seals on the sites or the materials you are reviewing. Ask for the credentials (such as a certificate) from the navigator or the certified applicant counselor with whom you are working. If you are receiving assistance from someone, that person should not be asking you for money. There is no charge to consumers who work with navigators or applicant counselors. Finally, if you are on Medicare, it is illegal for anyone to sell you an insurance plan through the Marketplace.

Remember to never share personal health information, personal account numbers, social security numbers or bank account numbers with companies that you did not contact. Keep in mind though, that you may have to share your social security number or other personal information with navigators or applicant counselors so that they can help you enroll.

Write down the name of any person who assists you in the process of applying for healthcare, as well as their employer or organization’s name, phone number, email address, website and mailing address.

If you would like the assistance of a navigator or a certified applicant counselor, you can find them at www.localhelp.healthcare.gov and www.enrollmichigan.com or by calling 1-800-318-2596. You’ll be directed to assistance in your area. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325.

If you feel you may be the victim of fraud, contact the Health Insurance Marketplace consumer call center at 1-800-318-2596. You may also call your local police or the Michigan State Police at 1-800-525-5555. You may also contact the Michigan Department of Insurance by calling 1-877-999-6442. If you have given your personal information to someone you think you shouldn’t have it, or feel you may be the victim of identity theft, contact your local police and the Federal Trade Commission’s ID Theft Hotline at 1-877-438-4338. TTY users should call 1-866-653-4261.

MSU Extension will be offering consumer education about making healthcare choices in the Marketplace beginning November 2013. Through Smart Choice participants will determine what they want from health care providers, compare healthcare plans, determine the cost of the plans and will apply what they learn to make the right choice in healthcare plans for them. Both face-to-face and online workshops will be offered. To find a workshop near you visit www.msue.msu.edu after Oct. 28.

Be a wise consumer as you choose your healthcare in the Marketplace!

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