Missouri Attorney General Warns About Healthcare Scams

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COLUMBIA- The Missouri Attorney General's office and the Better Business Bureau are warning health care buyers about scams they are hearing about across the nation, including Missouri.

Joe Bindbeutel, chief of the Consumer Division for the Attorney General's office, said that office has gotten a number of calls from people who received unsolicited calls about health "cards."

Bindbeutel said his office is "virtually sure' it will be seeing an increase in health care scams through the health care enrollment period.

Bindbeutel said some have called offering "Obamacards"--which do not exist. He said people may fall for this because they are told they need to hurry.

"People need to take time, there's no deadline looming,"  Bindbeutel said

Mike Harrison of the Better Business Bureau in Columbia said other bureaus are receiving inquires about these types of calls and emails also.

Harrison said these scammers even have a target.

"They will prey on those 65 and over; they will prey on those with disabilities; then they will makes phone calls to small businesses," Harrison said.

Harrison also said the BBB expects an increase in health care scams in the next few months.

He said government will rarely call or email individuals, and will instead use postal mail.

The Attorney General's office also has some tips. Bindeutel said people should look out for callers who ask for bank information or tell you to hurry.

He said people should also do their research and familiarize themselves with the new Affordable Care Act before buying insurance. 

Bindbeutel said people shopping for health care can also call insurance navigators who are trained to help health care buyers find insurance. He also warns to make sure these navigators are accredited and licensed to help. 

The number to check if a navigator is licensed by the state is (800) 318-2596.

To report any unsolicited calls or emails about health care, contact the Better Business Bureau or the Missouri Attorney General.