Seven Sources for Covering Health Reform Scams in Your Community

Published on
November 16, 2010

Health reform may go under the knife when Republicans take control of Congress in January – but reform-related scams likely will remain alive and well. Here are some resources for reporting on these scams should they crop up in your community.

Preying on Americans' confusion over health reform provisions, scam artists have come up with a variety of creative schemes to separate people from their money and valuable information like Social Security numbers. While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has plenty of provisions tackling health care fraud, some recent scams focus on the law itself.  

Massachusetts' attorney general recently sued several companies for selling insurance policies they claimed would meet the 2014 mandate to purchase health insurance. In fact, the policies weren't insurance at all, but medical discount plans. Some scamsters go door-to-door selling "Obamacare" policies "required" by the new law. In Wyoming and Utah, seniors have complained about callers telling them (falsely) they need to "register" to get their $250 Medicare rebate check.  

Who should you check with to see what, if any, health reform scams are invading your community?

1. Your local law enforcement agency. Start with the financial crimes or fraud unit.

2. Your state's attorney general. Here's a state-by-state list of attorneys general.

3. Your state's Health Insurance Counseling Assistance Program, which provides counseling about Medicare and health insurance to seniors. Local counselors may hear complaints about Medicare-related health reform scams long before law enforcement. Here's state-by-state list of programs and a list of local HICAP offices in California.

4. Your state's insurance commissioner. Here's a state-by-state list of insurance commissioners.

5. Coalition Against Insurance Fraud. This coalition of insurers and consumer groups maintains statistics and monitors reports of health reform-related fraud.

6. National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association. This group of insurers, regulators and law enforcement professionals works to reduce health fraud.

7. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Long-time spokesman Peter Ashkenaz can be reached at peter [dot] ashkenaz [at] cms [dot] hhs [dot] gov or 202-690-6145.

Have you covered health reform scams in your community? Share your experiences and stories in the comments below.