Here in Utah, individuals looking for insurance plans through the health insurance marketplace run by the federal government. Small businesses will use a state-run plan called Avenue H, though some companies may give a lump sum to employees to shop on the individual market. You'll have a lot of choices to help you find insurance that works for you, and may qualify for subsidies to help you afford a valuable plan. AARP has a new website, healthlawanswers.org that provides guidance on how to naviagate the marketplace, but like other stories that dominate the headlines, fraud is always a concern.
It's helpful to look at the official government website, healthcare.gov, to learn the basics about coverage, compare insurance plans, and look for offical government seals, logos, or web addresses on materials you see on print or online.
But what else should you know. First, no one should be asking for your personal health information, such as your health history, any heallth conditions, or medical treaments you've received. Don't give this information to anyone. If someone asks for you it, they're committing fraud.
The same is true for financial information. Never give out your account numbers, Social Security number, credit card, or banking information in response to an unsolicited communication, companies you didn't contact, or someone who calls you or visits your home saying he or she is from the exchange. They are also trying to con you.
The marketplace does have trained assisters, such as navigators, who can help you at no cost. You should never be asked to pay for services or help. Take action if any of these things happen! You can call the Health Insurance Marketplace call center at 1-800-318-2596 for assistance or report it to the Federal Trade Commission.
The new marketplaces will provide many opportunities for you to find affordable, quality plans, but unfortunately con artists often take advantage of consumers. Make sure you avoid fraud when choosing your coverage!