Finance

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
8 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
9 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
9 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. You can see what the part B premiums will do to her S.S. This is a factoid that not even Fox News is willing to bring forward. It just bears out the truth that Obamacare will ultimately affect every senior in this country negatively.

Matilda Pizzella
9 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!!!!!

PaulE
9 years ago

That was the purpose of last November’s election. However, a majority of the American voters have been dumbed-down enough to the point where they opted to give Obama and many in Congress another term.

emma
9 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

Which leads to a stunningly degraded America, if in fact it survives, with ‘folks’ unbelievably ignorant, as their country is shoved into the trashcan because of our criminal government led by our pansy prez.

PaulE
9 years ago
Reply to  emma

Yes it does. The ramifications of Obama’s presidency for this country will live on for decades afterwards.

Dale
9 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.

PaulE
9 years ago
Reply to  Dale

“The bill, now law, is completely unconstitutional………..what the hell were they thinking.”

Well Obama, Pelosi and Reid were thinking about the “transformation” of the United States. During Obama’s first campaign in 2007 through 2008, he laid out very clearly, for those that were actually listening to what he was saying in-between the “hope and change” nonsense put out for mass consumption, what he intended to do if elected President. It was all there for the public to see, if they did a little homework. Bottom line, what they were thinking was how they were going to shift the country towards socialism as fast as they could get things done. That people are still surprised or outraged that Obama, Pelosi and Reid actually carried out what Obama said he would do is what I find amazing. This is what happens when the majority of voters, for whatever reason, are foolish enough to elect a socialist president and give him a veto proof majority in both houses of Congress for his first two years.

Jonathan Martinson
9 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 required to be President, and producing a totally phony fraudulent birth certificate months later when asked to produce it. Furthermore, Obummer has defecated on the Constitution every chance he gets. He and his wife have spent millions and millions of our tax dollars on every often-taken vacation trip they take, bringing as many as 500 people to wait on their every demand (desire)….THIS IS NOT RIGHT! Nor should it be permissible. No other President has been sooo blatant and dangerously careless as Obummer and his wife. Hell, both of them lost their law licenses due to their own fraudulent activities. One must ask, does this couple really set a good example of what a President and his spouse should set for the rest of the world to see? Absolutely NOT is the correct answer! The last election was totally phony and fraudulent. George Sorros, Obummer’s biggest backer, owns the company that manufactures, programs and installs every voting machine in the country. In this manner,m it is no surprise that Obummer fraudulently “won” again since a majority of the votes were randomly switched to him from those legitimately placed for Mitt Romney. The bottom line is, that Obummer needs to be impeached and removed from office ASAP if this country is to survive.

rick
9 years ago

What is your source for the age 76 and no cancer treatment assertion?

Almay
9 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 towards a destitute country, void of the great values that made the United States the greatest country of all times. Obama and his supporters legacy will be one that resulted in the demise of our great nation unless something is done to halt the current agenda.

M. Reeves
9 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 the procedure if done on the same day. They will pay, then they have up to 3 years to come back and make the patient pay them back for the procedure. Either I don’t really believe the doctor, or I am in LEFT FIELD, or this ObamaCare thing is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. What is going on??

PaulE
9 years ago
Reply to  M. Reeves

Yes, doctors and hospitals are getting new guidelines on treatment from HHS. The doctors and hospitals are obligated to follow these mandatory guidelines. There will be a lot more changes coming, so be prepared to experience a whole new lower level or medical care as we move forward. At least in your case, the doctor was still allowed to perform the procedure, even if it was delayed by a short time. Under ObamaCare, some existing treatments or drugs may no longer be offered at all.

Howard Munday
9 years ago

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

Jim J
9 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!

Michael JK
9 years ago
Reply to  Jim J

Hey the Democrats blame Republicans for the weather every day. Haven’t you been paying attention for the last 5 years. obamacare is a disaster and wait till it kicks in in January 2014. I wonder why they waited till after the election to implement the disaster to the average person. I hope there is a change when people understand how many dollars MORE it will cost them per month, not to mention the long waiting time fore service. See Canada and England.

Maybe we can end up like Greece, Sapin Italy and France. History does repeat itself ….. sorry to say.

john king
9 years ago
Reply to  Jim J

No, that’s George Bush’s fault.

Doug Renfrow
9 years ago

DUH!

Paul
9 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.

PaulE
9 years ago
Reply to  Paul

All good points. The only question is does Dr. Carson actually want to run for office. He seems to realize that there would be a non-stop slime campaign launched against him by the left. So it’s a matter if he and his family are prepared for all that.

Paul
9 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
9 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.

MaryAnn
9 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

It just doesn’t make any sense to sigh up for ANYTHING until the provisions of the law are in front of us, and it is clear what we need. I only have Medicare Part A; I’m not even bothering with Part B. What’s astounding is that Obama, that friend of the downtrodden (sarcasm), would advocate a plan that goes through private insurance companies. Even without fraud, the massive profits those companies give themselves and everything they do to protect their bottom line represents money not being spent on actual health care.

PaulE
9 years ago
Reply to  MaryAnn

ObamaCare isn’t supposed to actually work. It was designed to be the interim step the left’s goal of single-payer like they have in Europe. Total control of all healthcare, with no recourse and massive rationing to those deemed “not of sufficient value” to society. The idea behind ObamaCare is to cause so much pain for the American public, that they accept the then proposed “fix” of single-payer, that no one in their right mind would ever accept.

MaryAnn
9 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

You state that the goal is a single-player system like Europe. That’s probably true. However, it isn’t going to happen. Do you really think our bought-and-paid-for politicians are going to resist the money insurance companies give them to keep their money machine in place? Here’s a hint….the ‘pubs have controlled the purse strings in the HOR for over two years now. Why haven’t they voted to defund every single aspect of Obamacare?

PaulE
9 years ago
Reply to  MaryAnn

There seems to be an assumption that the insurance companies are somehow free to set policy prices at whatever level they wish and that it’s all pure profit. You do understand that between the individual state insurance regulators and the federal regulations, insurance companies are much closer to being like a utility company than say a Google or Apple right?

While I’m no fan of the insurance industry, I do understand that the more a state mandates inclusion of coverage for a medical device or illness, the higher the insurance premium will have to be to offset the costs associated with claims for that medical device or illness. The same hold true of the federal mandates being heaped onto all the insurance companies by HHS due to ObamaCare. It all adds to increased costs on the insurance premium which we all pay.

As for the HOR not defunding ObamaCare, the HOR has passed a bill to do exactly that multiple times over the last two years and each time it has been sent to the Senate, where it dies. The HOR can’t do anything to stop ObamaCare on its own. It requires cooperation from the Senate, which it will not get. Even if the Senate did cooperate, any such bill would require Obama’s signature to become law. That also won’t happen.

MaryAnn
9 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

The HOR under Boehner keeps raising the debt limit. That allows the funding of ObamaCare. Doesn’t all spending have to originate in the HOR? A bill to defund ObamaCare won’t do that, but a bill that doesn’t include spending for ObamaCare will.

As far as the insurance companies are concerned, regardless how many things have to be included, they’re still going to add their profits on top of that. If they don’t find it affordable to offer the coverage, they can just stop offering it. I’m wondering if we’ll end up with a two-tier health care system, ObamaCare for the masses and another system for those who opt-out. The insurance companies will do just fine off of the opt-outs, many of whom will want health insurance for serious diseases only, and with high deductibles.

PaulE
9 years ago
Reply to  MaryAnn

The issue of the debt ceiling in one where the HOR simply lacks the guts to stand up and do the right thing, because of how well the media successfully painted the Republicans as the bad guys under Clinton. Remember that? A very effective public relations hatchet job. So now, the entire Republican Party is terrified of that being repeated. At least those in office for several years, which is many of them. So they will never vote to shut the government down over the debt ceiling issue. Sure they’ll make a lot of noise and bluster about the issue, but at the end of the day, they will simply vote for the increases.

As to the insurance companies, under ObamaCare the government can and does mandate what is included in your insurance policy. The insurance companies cannot simply opt-out, if they find the coverage unaffordable or unprofitable. They’re only alternative to not offering policies that include all the government mandates is to effectively no longer sell insurance. In short, put themselves out of business.

Yes, we will end up with a two-tier health care system. Many doctors are fed up and want nothing more to do with ObamaCare. They will take patients on a cash basis only. Will people like it? Hell no! However, that’s the direction we’re headed.

By the way, even in England under single-payer, there is a two-tier health care system. The masses are stuck with the terrible care from the government, while those that can afford it get the equivalent of what we’ve enjoyed in this country up until ObamaCare.

Jay A.
9 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

Remember Puklosi saying that famous quote, we need to pass the bill to see whats in it..

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