ACA deadline for health coverage looms

By Mark Fowser/Amy Cherry 4:36pm, March 19, 2014 - Updated 4:42pm, March 19, 2014
The state's efforts to get uninsured Delawareans coverage through the Affordable Care Act are heading into the home stretch.

In-studio, Senator Carper tells WDEL he believes the program will help contain skyrocketing health care costs.

"Forty million people with no coverage. Eventually, they get coverage. They get really sick, they go to the emergency room; they get admitted, and it's usually expensive. Who pays for it? All of us. The rest of us who have coverage, and a much smarter approach is not a "sick care" system but a health care system or a well care system so that we actually encourage people, incentivize people to take better care of them selves," said Carper.

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The deadline to sign up is March 31 or people will face penalties.

"People, if they don't want to sign up, they're young and invincible, they can say,'I'll never need health care coverage, they're not going to have to get it, but if they don't there is a cost to that. Because ultimately if they do get sick, and they do need to be hospitalized, and they do need care, and they don't have any health insurance or any money, the rest of us pay for it, and that's not right, that's not fair," Carper said.

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Meantime, as the deadline gets closer, the state Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is cautioning you to look out for scams involving Obamacare.

DHSS says people are posing as representatives from the federal Health Insurance Marketplace, trying to collect premium payments over the phone.

If you do happen to get a call from a real representative with the health insurance exchange, remember, they'll never ask for financial information.

Here's a few other tips to avoid becoming a victim:

A Marketplace representative may leave a message on your answering machine. If this happens, you won’t be able to call back. If the Marketplace can’t reach you after three tries, you will get a mailed letter telling you what to do next.

Callers might claim that you need a new Obamacare insurance or Medicare card. This is not true; you are not required to obtain new insurance or Medicare cards because of the Affordable Care Act.

If you are contacted by anyone who says you are required to act during a “limited time” to purchase a new plan or update your information, simply hang up and do not give out any personal information. Do not reply to fraudulent emails or text messages.

The department worries the scams may become more frequent as the March 31st deadline for enrollment nears.

If you suspect you've been the target of a fraudulent insurance scheme you may report the incident to the fraud division at the Delaware Department of Insurance at 302.674.7350 or 1.800.632.5154.

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