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Health Care Scammers May Take Advantage Of New Policy

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Health Care Scammers May Take Advantage Of New Policy

Despite the prominence of the new health care law in public debate, many people seem to be unaware of or confused about how it will affect them. That has created an opportunity for scammers, who are selling fake insurance policies to unsuspecting consumers.

Federal and state officials warn consumers to beware of health care cons, including people going door to door claiming to offer policies during a supposedly limited-time open-enrollment period.

“Unfortunately, scam artists and criminals may be using the passage of these historic reforms as an opportunity to confuse and defraud the public,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote this week to state attorneys general and insurance regulators.

Ohio Attorney General Richard Corday’s office has received no consumer complaints, spokeswoman Kimberly Kowalski said. “But we do anticipate that there will be scams, as there always are when high-profile issues arise,” she said in an e-mail.

Some sections of the law take effect this year, but many provisions won’t start until 2014. Other provisions won’t be fully implemented for as long as 10years.

By this summer, people who have been turned down for coverage because of a pre-existing medical issue will be able to buy a plan through a new high-risk health-insurance pool.

By the fall, insurance plans will no longer be able to: deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions; deny people coverage when they get sick; or impose lifetime caps on coverage. In addition, starting this fall, parents will be able to keep their children on their policies until they turn 26.

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