Confusion could encourage scams as healthcare law looms - WSFX - FOX Wilmington, NC

Confusion could encourage scams as healthcare law looms

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, becomes law in four days, but as the deadline gets closer, apprehension and confusion seems to grow.

People have reported receiving pieces of mail that look legitimate, but experts warn that the prescription cards and offers could be scams.

Diane Gilbert, of Nashville, received something peculiar in her mailbox recently, so she called to investigate.

"It looks pretty official," Gilbert said.

It was a plastic card, complete with a United States logo on it and was accompanied by a document mimicking a tax form.

"Like it was an insurance card or something," Gilbert said. "I'm thoroughly confused on this new Affordable Act, and this was just adding to my confusion."

The Better Business Bureau says there are a lot of business, legitimate and otherwise, who will see an opportunity with the new law and try to seize it.

"That's what they depend on: that you don't know enough to make a solid, sound decision for yourself," said BBB spokeswoman Kathleen Calligan.

Rule No. 1 to keep in mind is there are no cards. And there are no phone calls, either.

"If you get a call, if you get an email, if you get a knock on the door and it's all about the Affordable Health Care Act, look them in the face, listen to them over the phone and tell them you know that they're a scammer. Hang up the phone and close the door," Calligan said.

Also, don't fall for threats or fines. If you don't buy insurance, you will have to pay a fee eventually, but that will automatically come out of your tax return.

You won't go to jail, and the government won't garnish your wages.

"All of that is bullying. All of that is threatening. None of those things are going to happen," Calligan said.

What will happen? If you are already insured, your current provider will contact you by mail. If not, you'll have to choose a plan.

If you find that confusing, and many people will, you can go to the people trained to give you assistance, called navigators. They are ready and willing to answer your questions, and you can contact them by calling 615-329-3826.

Open enrollment for the healthcare law begins Oct. 1, but you have until March 31, 2014, to take action.

If you enroll before Dec. 15, your coverage will start Jan. 1, 2014, so there is a perk to getting the work done early.

For all the help you need to get started, go to http://healthcare.gov.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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