By Chris Butler | Tennessee Watchdog
NASHVILLE — Scam artists have seemingly found a friend in Obamacare.
Reports are emerging that shysters are using Tennessee residents’ relative lack of knowledge about the new health care law to defraud them.
Scam artists, for example, are making calls claiming they need Social Security numbers to sign people up for a new Obamacare insurance card, according to a statement from the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.
“We’ve been made aware of one scam, in particular,” said TDCI spokeswoman Kate Abernathy.
“One of our navigator agencies let us know that there was an individual calling people saying that he or she could have walked him through the application process for $100 for a navigator certified application counselor service, but that information is completely incorrect. That is a free service that is supposed to remain free.”
The federal government, along with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, began sending out advisories against possible fraud related to Obamacare many months ago, Abernathy said.
“There are scammers out there who are calling around and saying ‘All right we need your Medicare number. We need to update your profile.’ A Medicare beneficiary can hand over that information without thinking about it — and they’ve just given a criminal their Social Security number,” Abernathy said.
As previously reported, TDCI implemented registration requirements and criminal background checks on people who serve as Obamacare navigators or certified Obamacare application counselors in Tennessee.
Such people are responsible for handling the financial or medical information belonging to other individuals.
Strangely, last month, mainstream media outlets such as the Washington Post seemed to condemn Tennessee and other states for implementing these policies, saying they were getting in the way of progress.
“There is a very palpable concern . . . that anti-Obamacare state government people will find ways to gum up the works,” the Post quoted Leonardo Cuello, director of health reform for the National Health Law Program, as saying.
Despite the ruling, Abernathy said anyone who handles another person’s personal financial or medical information is still subject to the regulations.
Contact Christopher Butler at [email protected].
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