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Bill introduced to protect seniors from healthcare scams

November 26, 2013
by Sandra Hoban, Managing Editor
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The initiation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has spawned a cottage industry of healthcare scams targeting senior citizens. Congressman Raul Ruiz, MD (D), is introducing legislation aimed at educating seniors on how to recognize these healthcare predators. Unfortunately, many Medicare recipients do not realize that the ACA does not require them to take any action.

The Protecting Seniors from Healthcare Fraud Act of 2013 would require that the Department of Justice and Health and Human Services work with other federal agencies to create of policy recommendations to combat these crimes aimed at accessing an individual’s personal information. In addition, seniors would be sent a list of 10 common healthcare schemes so they can recognize the fraud and report it to authorities. Armed with information about the scams, older adults will be able to recognize when they are being hustled.

To illustrate, criminals have tampered with the name of California’s healthcare exchange, Covered California, and presented themselves as representatives using names such as “Get Covered.”  Their intention is to lead people away from official exchanges and capture their personal information.

“My bill is designed to provide more information on the ways criminals are working to defraud seniors…[and] to bring criminals to justice,” said Ruiz in an article. The Protecting Seniors from Healthcare Fraud Act of 2013 has received bipartisan support in Congress and endorsements from senior advocacy groups such as AARP.