The confusion over the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, has made seniors a prime target for scammers. It has led to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issuing warnings to seniors not to fall for it.
The most common scam is calls going out to seniors from people claiming to be from the government.
These individuals are telling older adults they have to have their Medicare and bank account numbers to sign them up for new “national medical cards” they claim all older adults must have under the new Affordable Care Act. Medicare cards will remain the same, and no Medicare recipient will receive legitimate, unsolicited calls about health care changes. If you or a loved one has received one of these calls, Medicare Patrol and the FTC would like to hear from you.
What else can you do to protect your senior loved one from these types of scams:
- Remind them not to give out any personal or financial information over the phone. Some of these scammers are using very high pressure tactics that may be intimidating to the elderly. Encourage them to just hang up.
- If your older loved one isn’t yet 65, they may be especially confused about some of the rules and regulations related to the Affordable Care Act. They will be required to have insurance or face a penalty, but they will not be subject to jail time as some of these scams are claiming. The penalty will be a part of the yearly income tax process.
- If you are helping your older loved one sign up for their plan online, make sure you are using a legitimate site. Pay special attention to the URL so you can see if you have been redirected to an inauthentic site.
- Keep an eye on your bank account and credit cards. Many caregivers have found it beneficial to sign up for safe guard systems and to take advantage of free fraud alert programs offered by banks on their loved one’s behalf.
If you have more questions about the Affordable Care Act and Medicare, the Medicare website is a great place to start.
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