New York Officials Warn Against Health Insurance Scams

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(WNY News Now) – New York Attorney General Letitia James and State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald have issued a cautionary message to New Yorkers, urging vigilance against an increase in health insurance scams as the state prepares for the 2024 enrollment period through the NY State of Health which started yesterday, November 16.

New York – New York’s Health Plan Marketplace, NY State of Health, is gearing up for the 2024 enrollment period, offering a comprehensive platform for health insurance shopping, covering both public health programs like Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and the Essential Plan, as well as commercial health insurance through Qualified Health Plans.

Concerns over health insurance scams have escalated, particularly in light of the state’s resumption of eligibility reviews and renewals for those enrolled in public health programs, following the expiration of pandemic-related continuous coverage rules earlier this year. Attorney General Letitia James and State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald had previously expressed apprehension about scammers exploiting New Yorkers seeking to enroll in health insurance programs back in May.

Attorney General James emphasizes the need to protect vulnerable New Yorkers, stating, “We cannot allow scammers to prey on vulnerable New Yorkers who are simply trying to secure or renew their health insurance.” She urges citizens to remain vigilant and promptly report any suspicious activity to her office.

Commissioner McDonald echoes these sentiments, expressing concern about the exploitation of individuals seeking health insurance coverage. He advises New Yorkers to exercise caution, keep personal information private, and verify the authenticity of forms using official logos from NY State of Health, Medicaid, or the State Department of Health.

Scammers often employ tactics such as threatening cancellation of Medicaid or other health coverage unless payment is made, or using false generosity offers to obtain personal information through phishing scams. Attorney General James and Commissioner McDonald highlight that the agencies administering Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and Essential Plan benefits will never request money for enrollment or renewal and will not offer rewards for coverage renewal.

To renew Medicaid, Child Health Plus, or Essential Plan health insurance, New Yorkers are encouraged to visit the NY State of Health webpage or the NY Medicaid website. For commercial Qualified Health Plan coverage for 2024, residents should visit the NY State of Health website.

To help citizens navigate the enrollment and renewal process, Attorney General James and Commissioner McDonald provide the following tips:

  1. No one can charge a fee to renew health insurance in Medicaid, Child Health Plus, or the Essential Plan.
  2. If enrolled in health insurance through NY State of Health, free assistance is available from health-certified enrollment assistors and customer service representatives.
  3. Enrollees in Medicaid can seek free assistance from their county’s Medicaid office or New York City’s Human Resources Administration.
  4. Government agencies will never threaten, demand payment, or ask for credit information through text, email, or phone call.
  5. Beware of unofficial websites posing as the NY State of Health marketplace.

Enrollment in Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and the Essential Plan is open year-round, with renewals required every 12 months. However, New York state has sent renewal notices to enrollees well in advance of coverage end dates, providing detailed instructions.

For those looking to enroll in a Qualified Health Plan for 2024, the open enrollment period begins on November 16 and must be completed by December 15 for coverage starting on January 1, 2024. New Yorkers experiencing qualifying life events can enroll outside the open enrollment period, with tax credits available to lower monthly costs for most individuals.

Anyone suspecting they are a victim of a scam is urged to report it to the Office of the Attorney General through the online complaint submission or by calling 1-800-771-7755. As New York braces for the 2024 health insurance enrollment, the emphasis on vigilance and awareness remains paramount to safeguard residents from potential scams.

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