With millions of Americans frustrated and bewildered by the trouble-prone federal health insurance website, con men and unscrupulous marketers are seizing their chance, says the New York Times. State and federal authorities report a rising number of consumer complaints, ranging from deceptive sales practices to identity theft linked to the Affordable Care Act.
Only a tiny fraction of Americans have been affected so far, but state authorities and the Federal Trade Commission are reviewing the issue aggressively. Interviews with authorities in states including California, Florida, Illinois and New York suggest that fraud is a growing worry. Websites are difficult to police. Even though people on Medicare have no need for supplemental insurance, some marketers falsely claim it is required. Others tell people falsely the law means they need new Medicare cards. Others charge fees as high as $100 to “help” people navigate the new insurance landscape.