Long ago, in a television series called "Hill Street Blues", Sergeant Phil Esterhaus used to end each briefing session with the words, "Hey, let's be careful out there." It was dangerous thirty years ago when the show first aired. It's still dangerous today. So often, when you pick up a call on your cell phone or at home, or you open your door, there's someone trying to sell you something. Sadly, a lot of the time, it's a scam. For these fraudsters, the best time to strike is when a new law comes into force. Before anyone has a chance to find out how everything is supposed to work, here's this person, full of confidence, telling you just what you need to know. Except. . .
Well, here are a few things to look out for. The most common is someone appearing at your door, claiming to be a government sales officer. He or she will remind you that the new law requires to you buy an insurance policy. You have only a few more days before the penalties kick in. All you have to do is buy the minimum coverage. It just so happens that one is available for only. . . Cash will be acceptable. Put like this, it's surprising anyone is taken in but, with words as smooth as honey, many are taken in. Then there are the folk selling discount plans as insurance plans. There are some genuine discount plans, but they only give you a reduction on a limited number of healthcare services and, in many cases, you have to pay cash out of your own pocket to get them. So don't be taken in. These are not health plans that work like an insurance policy. All you are doing is prebuying some services and so earning a discount. One of the more dangerous is to target seniors. This is the Part D rebate scam. Once a senior falls in the donut hole, a rebate check is automatically mailed. There's no need to do anything once spending reaches the prescription coverage gap. Yet many seniors are handing over their Social Security and Medicare beneficiary numbers for this helpful person to process their rebates. Not surprisingly, this produces losses.
There's a simple way to stay safe. If you buy through a site like this, you get multiple quotes and you guarantee you are dealing with real insurance companies. If someone appears out of the blue on your doorstep, assume the worst. Always ask for identification and make a telephone call to check it's real. Ignore all faxes, e-mails and cold telephone calls. Even more importantly, if someone you do not know asks for your health insurance details, do not say anything. Genuine people already have your personal information and there's no need to give it up voluntarily. Never get taken in by offers of cheap health insurance or special discounts unless they come through a site like this. Yes, this means distrusting everyone who comes to your door. But it's better to be a little paranoid than left poor because of fraud.