Carson City, NV - October 07, 2013
that open enrollment has begun for health insurance plans affected by the
Affordable Care Act (ACA), Nevadans need to be wary of scammers looking to take
advantage of consumer’s uncertainty surrounding this law. Posing as navigators,
insurance agents, representatives of the federal government or the Nevada
Health Link, these scam artists try to sell fraudulent policies or obtain
sensitive information like Social Security and bank account numbers. Attorney
General Catherine Cortez Masto and Insurance Commissioner Scott Kipper are
warning Nevada consumers about common red flags and providing tips on how to
avoid being the victim of a scam.
urge Nevadans to be vigilant and to keep an eye out for these common red flags
as they purchase insurance for 2014 during open enrollment season,” said Insurance
Commissioner Kipper. “We urge anyone that suspects fraud or who has a
complaint related to a person or company selling them insurance to contact our
office immediately. We can then investigate the situation, take administrative
action if necessary, and work together with our partners at the Attorney
General’s Office if we suspect criminal activity.”
any new program, con artists try to take advantage of the change and potential
confusion,” said Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto. “In
some cases, these criminals will try to collect personal or financial
information to steal one’s identity and their money. Nevadans must use caution
to avoid scam artists.”
Enrollment Facilitators and Insurance Agents
enrollment facilitators (EEFs), also known as “navigators”, “enrollment
assisters” and “certified application counselors” are a new type of
professional created by the ACA to provide education and outreach about the ACA
and Nevada Health Link (www.nevadahealthlink.com) to
potentially underserved communities. They can help you apply for coverage
through the Nevada Health Link, but they cannot steer you to a specific plan or
carrier. EEFs are certified by the Nevada Division of Insurance and like
traditional insurance agents they must undergo pre-certification education and
testing as well as background checks. Insurance agents, agencies and companies
must also be licensed by the Nevada Division of Insurance.
you share any personal or financial information remember to always verify with
the Nevada Division of Insurance that the person or company you are working
with is licensed, certified or authorized to conduct business in this state.
You can do this at doi.nv.gov or you can
contact the Division in Northern Nevada at
775-687-0700 and in Southern Nevada at 702-486-4009.
Insurance on the Exchange
Health Link is a new online marketplace where Nevada residents and small
businesses can compare and enroll in medical and dental insurance. The
insurance plans available through Nevada Health Link are approved by the Nevada
Division of Insurance and are compliant with all state and federal laws,
including the ACA. Nevada Health Link, also known as the Silver State Health
Insurance Exchange, is the only place that consumers in Nevada can purchase
private health insurance while also applying for government subsidies to reduce
the cost of coverage. Nevadans can also use it to apply for Medicaid or to
determine whether they qualify for tax credits to help offset their insurance
premium payments. Nevada Health Link asks consumers to enter personal
information about themselves, including their income and Social Security Number
as they shop for coverage and apply for assistance.
enrollment on Nevada Health Link began Oct. 1, however bogus websites that
purport to be part of the exchange have been appearing online. Do not enter any
personal or financial information into a website that is not www.nevadahealthlink.com that claims
to be related to Nevada’s Exchange or a way to apply for subsidies.
“Obamacare” Insurance or Medicare Cards
common ploy involves unsolicited calls from scammers who claim to have your new
“Obamacare” insurance card – they just need to get some information before they
can send it to you. The caller then asks for credit card numbers, bank account
information or your Social Security number. A variation of this trick
specifically targets seniors on Medicare; the caller claims that in order for
them to get their new Medicare card and continue receiving their benefits, they
must verify their bank account and routing numbers. Some callers ask for their
Medicare numbers, which are identical to Social Security numbers. Nevada Health
Link does not offer Medicare. Medicare is not affected by the ACA, and you
cannot enroll in Medicare through Nevada Health Link. You should not share your
Medicare number with anyone who contacts you uninvited. If you have Medicare
questions, please call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-877-9392).
are not required to obtain a new insurance or Medicare card under the ACA. Also, anyone who is
a legitimate representative of the federal government will already have your
personal and financial information and should not ask you to provide it.
are some additional “red flags” to watch out for:
salesperson says the premium offer is only good for a limited time.
2014 open enrollment runs from Oct. 1 to March 31, and rates for plans have
been approved by the Nevada Division of Insurance for the entire enrollment
period. Be skeptical of someone who is trying to pressure you into buying a
policy because the rate is only good for a short time. Remember: if the
offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
salesperson says you could go to jail for not having health insurance.
in 2014, all Americans will be required to have health insurance. You will not
face jail time if you do not purchase health insurance. However, those who
remain uninsured and do not qualify for any exemptions will face a penalty of
$95 (for each adult) or 1% of family income, whichever is greater. This penalty
will be collected by the Internal Revenue Service through income tax filings,
not by callers requesting payment. This penalty will increase every year. For
more information on the individual shared responsibility provision of the ACA,
receive an unsolicited phone call, email, visit from someone trying to sell
the federal government, Nevada Division of Insurance nor the Nevada Health Link
will contact individual consumers to sell them insurance. Do not give any
sensitive information to anyone who contacts you claiming to be associated with
salesperson asks you to pay them for help.
- Neither the State of Nevada
nor the federal government will charge for services related to the
Affordable Care Act. You
never have to pay to receive help. If you receive an
offer to sign up on Nevada Health Link for a fee, you should hang up,
delete or walk away. Do not give cash, your credit card or banking
information to someone you do not know or did not contact.
- Discount medical plans, while
not illegal, are not insurance and do not fulfill the coverage requirement
of the individual mandate. It is however illegal to sell discount medical
plans as insurance.
to do if you suspect fraud
in Nevada who suspect fraud or have questions or complaints about an insurance
product, agent, agency, company or exchange enrollment facilitator are urged to
contact the Nevada Division of Insurance immediately. The Division can be
contacted at doi.nv.gov or by phone in Northern Nevada at 775-687-0700 and in Southern Nevada
report identity theft, consumers should first call their local police and then
report it to the Attorney General’s Office at the following numbers:
702-486-3420 in Las Vegas, 775-685-1100 in Carson City, 775-688-1818 in Reno, or
on the web at ag.nv.gov.
remember to always verify with the Nevada Division of Insurance that the person
or company you are working with is licensed, certified or authorized to conduct
business in this state. You can do this at the Division of Insurance phone
numbers above or online at doi.nv.gov.