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Ohio attorney general warns of scams related to Affordable Healthcare Act

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Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Lieutenant Governor and Insurance Director Mary Taylor issued a warning to Ohioans to be on watch for scams related to the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Attorney General DeWine said in a press release, "Scammers often pretend to be associated with the government to make their ploys seem real.

Reports of the ACA-related scams started coming in over the summer.  The release states that with consumers and small businesses looking for insurance, following the Oct. 1 launch of the ACA exchanges, an increase in scammers is possible.

DeWine and Taylor gave tips steps to stay safe.

They warn consumers to never pay up front fees, government programs will never demand an up front payment and navigators, the people who provide information about the ACA, are free.  They say being offered free service or medical devices can also be a sign of a scam.  Double checking websites to make sure they are legitimate is another good practice.

The release says navigators and insurance agents will have certifications for their positions.  Another reported scam involves callers offfering Obamacare or Medicare cards, which do not exist.

Anyone who suspects one of these scams can call the attorney general's office at 1-800-282-0515 or the Department of Insurance's new ACA fraud hotline at 1-877-727-6427.

Anyone with questions about health insurance can call the Department of Insurance at 1-800-686-1526 or visit this link.

The ACA is a federally-run health insurance exchange and open enrollment runs through March 31.  Coverage begins Jan. 1 for anyone who selects a plan by Dec. 15.