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Health Care Scams Against Seniors Soar Due to Obamacare

by Caroline Howle and Connor Martin – Ahead of ObamaCare’s massive overhaul of the U.S. health care system – to begin taking full effect in January 2014 – law enforcement agencies have noted recent upticks in a wide range of health insurance scams perpetrated by criminals looking to capitalize on public confusion regarding the law.  Unfortunately, these scams are hitting seniors and their bank accounts the hardest.

Sadly, the elderly and the poor are overwhelmingly targeted when it comes to what the Federal government has labeled “imposter scams,” with nearly 83,000 complaints filed in the last year.[1]  Law enforcement officials warn that these imposter scams take a variety of forms, from suspicious characters knocking on doors and calling people at home – to phony ads offering free health coverage on cable TV.  Mature Americans, whose retirement savings are ripe-for-the-picking, make for easy targets.  Their particular concern for the changes being made to their health care coverage – combined with the likelihood that they will be home to answer the phone – make seniors more susceptible to these deplorable scams.

The recent rise in the number of scams can be contributed in part to the grotesquely convoluted nature of ObamaCare itself, which has generated widespread confusion over the significant changes taking place in the nation’s health care system.  ObamaCare was rammed through Congress before many lawmakers even had a chance to find out what was in it – leaving the rest of America dazed and confused by what the law would mean for their families and their tax dollars.  As a result, the law was passed without full and thorough consideration of a vast multitude of concerns and problems, including various types of insurance scams and other breeds of fraud, manipulation and abuse.  Now, it will be up to state authorities and insurance companies to address reported incidents of fraud and to work to apprehend the perpetrators of these crimes.

Ambiguity and uncertainty have characterized ObamaCare from its very inception; American citizens and businesses are still largely unsure of the law’s mandates, as well as how the law will ultimately impact patient access, personal finance, business prospects, and the health industry at large.  In fact, recent polls from the Kaiser Family Foundation indicate that three years after its passage, 57 percent of the overall population still does not understand how ObamaCare will impact them![2]  Confusion and instability will only continue as major components of the law face delays and as the timelines for implementation of ObamaCare’s critical provisions are constantly readjusted.

It is in this vacuum of understanding that criminal elements have recognized a prime opportunity to prey on the vulnerable to make a fast, illicit buck.  According to James Quiggle, a spokesman for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, “misconceptions about the law’s provisions give criminals an opportunity to exploit consumers.  ‘Confusion is a crook’s best friend.’”[3]  Moreover, with something as massive as the U.S. health care system – comprising at least one-sixth of the entire U.S. economy – the Federal Trade Commission warns consumers that fraudsters are putting a “dangerous twist on the regular scams.”[4]

As it stands currently, a lack of real clarity surrounding ObamaCare will likely continue as health care providers, insurers and government employees work to institute this cumbersome law.  And, criminal operators will assuredly continue trying to leverage this lack of clarity for their own ill-gotten advantage, mostly by targeting specific groups and defrauding them of their individual financial wealth.  However, Mature Americans can avoid being victims, even by undertaking a handful of basic steps and practices, such as refusing to give personal or financial information over the phone or to a stranger.      As outdated information, and misinformation, continue to be everyday facts of life in the so-called “information age,” and as more business is done electronically, all Americans young and old, should remain vigilant regarding their personal finances and be on alert for suspect activity.


[1] Gold, Jenny, “Seniors Get Hung Up In Health Care Scams,” Kaiser Health, http://www.everydayhealth.com/senior-health/seniors-get-hung-up-in-health-care-scams.aspx.

[2] Gold. Jenny, “Poll Finds 3 Years Later, Americans Still Don’t Understand Obamacare,” Kaiser Family Foundation, March 21, 2013, http://www.tlnt.com/2013/03/21/poll-finds-3-years-later-americans-still-dont-understand-obamacare/.

[3] Cheplick, Thomas, “States on Hook to Prevent Obamacare Scams,” The Heartland Institute, http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/states-hook-prevent-obamacare-scams.

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Jim McGovern
7 years ago

If you listened to Glenn Beck ‘s TV show several yrs ago, you would have been aware of what he predicted re Obamacare & all the bullshit changes involved in the plan. Obamais the biggesr farce this country has ever seen. He is deceitful & is intent on tearing down America. However, when fraudelent voting comres into play, I don’t believe even J.C. of biblicsl fame could overcome the ballot box & voteing schames.

CassiB
7 years ago

Good information.
Please correct the grammar in the first sentence of the third paragraph:

“The recent rise in the number of scams can be contributed in part to…” It should read:

“The recent rise in the number of scams can be attributed in part to…”

Small errors such as this can affect the credibility of the writer and article.
Thanks.

Ralph Camp
7 years ago

Many of the previous comments are very good and very true, however, not one person has mentioned one aspect of the bill that will affect every senior citizen on Medicare. That is the fact that when this bill takes full effect, everyone’s Medicare part B premiums are going to jump from the current $96.40 per month to $147.00 per month. The year after that it will jump to $247.00 per month. For those seniors who have nothing but S.S. to depend on, this will be devestating. As an example, my wife will only get $360.00 per month starting this year.… Read more »

Matilda Pizzella
7 years ago

How in the world is this President still in power? What happened to the USA?
It looks to me this administration is afraid to open their mouth while he and his
cohorts put in place to destroy this country.
What happened to our rights? He is supposed to be working for us. We need
a clean sweep of Congress and his administration! Including our elected
President. He is week and has also been lying to the people he made promises
to.
GOD HELP THE USA!!!!!

Dale
7 years ago

Instead of defunding Obamacare, the politicians that put it into place are now voting to exempt themselves from it. The scariest part is that Obamacare gives the government full access to your bank accounts and they can transfer money from your account anytime they want. And why are illegal aliens exempted from having to pay but they have full access to coverage. There is sooooo much about Obamacare that most citizens are not aware of that is detrimental to the founding principles of our country. The bill, now law, is completely unconstitutional………..what the hell were they thinking.

Jonathan Martinson
7 years ago

Obamacare (Obummercare) is a NIGHTMARE! Aside from being laden with new unreasonable and unapproved taxes for EVERYONE in the Country, People who hit age 76 will not be covered for cancer treatment, when they most need it, among a host of other illnesses. Patients have been reduced to “units”. We, the people of the USA did not ask for Obummercare, nor do we want it! Obummer should be impeached immediately, not only for ramming Obummercare through Congress without the plan being analyzed, studied, evaluated nor even voted on, but also for not having been born in the USA, whihc is… Read more »

Almay
7 years ago

Those who wrote the Obama Care Health Care legislation and those who voted it to become law are all guilty of committing espionage against all patriotic tax paying americans. The 5 supreme court justices are included. In reading the book trying to define and describe Obama Care, it becomes most obvious that the law’s primary intent is the transfer of wealth from those who generate wealth, jobs and economy to those who are takers and therefore do not deserve freebies. Obama promised change and change we are getting. Change from a prosperous capitalistic nation to a failing socialist country moving… Read more »

M. Reeves
7 years ago

At the dermatologist the other day, was told they could not perform a (simple) procedure that day because ObamaCare dictates, the patient to come in, Dr. to assess and tell them they need a procedure (lets say) then make another appointment for a week or two to have that procedure done. The doctor told my husband he needed this places frozed off on a day she also took a skin cancer off his scalp. Then when we came ack to get that done is when she told us about the obamaCare thing.The explaination was that ObamaCare will not pay for… Read more »

Howard Munday
7 years ago

The biggest scammers and crooks in our country are the politicians at all levels of government in this country!

Jim J
7 years ago

So the scammers are discovering what the insurance industry has known all along.
“There’s a ton of money to be made if you take advantage of peoples uncertainties.”
As you can see from the previous comments, most people just want to complain about things they know nothing about.
I’m surprised that they don’t blame President Obama for the weather!

Doug Renfrow
7 years ago

DUH!

Paul
7 years ago

Barry Goldwater was 100% right in 1964 when he was against Medicare. It just raised the cost of insurances and cost across the whole spectrum. The best way to handle it would be what Dr. Benjamin Carson proposed too. Individual health care where your employer takes a certain percentage out of your paycheck and deposit it in YOUR account. It will go with you from employer to employer. It is being done in Chile and now in China too. Same for pension so the politicians couldn’t steel your money. At the same time we also need TORT REFORM.

Paul
7 years ago

I don’t like Obama and I don’t like Obamacare. It is full of taxes and added cost to care givers too. As a result many doctors will hear for the exits. There will still be private practices but very expensive and those of us relying on Obamacare will pay a very steep price.The only one who can save us will be Dr. Benjamin Carson for President in 2016

PaulE
7 years ago

ObamaCare is a scammer’s dream. So complex that even the fools in Congress who drafted it can’t explain how it is supposed to work.

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