You Have Just Won A Million Dollars

Dr. Thomas Fung


We have heard so many times the above to fall for it, but the vultures never cease to pass up a chance to scam us. They do not discriminate against only the aged. Any age group can be victimized. It is a jungle out there. At the presentation and discussion session held on January 11, 2014, we heard two alumni, Corinna Mok and Paul Lee, summarize the Affordable Care Act (ACA), together with the MediCAL expansion and Covered California.

The confusion about what the new act covers breeds new fraudsters who found a new kind of prey, though their methods are the same. Let's say you receive a call informing you that you are the lucky recipient of a "free one year subscription to the ACA (by a random draw) enabling you to skip the first premium", added that you will only have to pay the premium starting next year. Sounds good, right? So you give the caller your address, name, social security number, and birthday to get registered. Simple enough, right? Yes, just enough for the crooks to create an alternate "you" identity, and have your bank account drained dry, highjack your credit cards and plenty of other personal items.

Always look out for scams, including:

  1. Offering new Medicare or ACA cards at low or no cost; (There is no such thing as an Obamacare card or NEW Medicare card);
  2. In the name of legitimately-sounding organizations, outreach groups and volunteers, offering no or low cost (with token donation suggested) to help you register; (only interested in obtaining your personal information);
  3. Offering discount plans (“You pay just this amount of money ….etc.”, and the possibility of not meeting the government requirements); or offering Medical Supplemental coverage (Not required legally);
  4. Claiming "Agent" from the government to help you (Government will not call, text, email or knock on your door, to ask for your social security number or bank account number). Government may communicate by letter, and still would not ask for social security or credit card numbers.
  5. Claiming that "You can continue to see your own doctor", (only if your doctor belongs to your network plan, or you will have to pay him hard cash).
  6. As John: 8:32 says, "You should seek the truth, and the truth will set you free.” One has to be on his toes, all the time. Check out the people and don't click on unknown websites. Good websites include, but not limited to:
  • localhelp.healthcare.gov, and for Chinese interpretation, 1 (800) 318-2596
  • Report scam to www.ftc.gov/complaint
  • For possible identity theft, www.ftc.gov/idtheft, and
  • For the ACA , http://www.healthcare.gov/.

Don't try to outsmart the crooks. Even if you win (some people succeeded), you still get a lot of trouble.