“It’s a high visibility issue with mass confusion,” said Rep. Ed Clere, a New Albany Republican who chairs the House Public Health Committee and has traveled the state attending town hall meetings on the new law. “Everybody’s heard of Obamacare. Everbody knows something big is going on. What they don’t know are the details.”
“It’s a situation ripe for fraud,” Clere added. “And the people most likely to be targeted are the least sophisticated consumers.”
Kuzma agrees. “It’s a real opportunity for scammers. (People) are nervous about the law. Many people do need to something to comply with it but they’re not sure what they need to do.”
Both Clere and Kuzma are particularly concerned about the elderly, who may be duped into erroneously believing that their current Medicare coverage is about to end with the advent of the health exchanges. “The elderly are very vulnerable,” Kuzma said. “It’s important that we warn our parents and friends that this is something we need look out for.”
Indiana opted out of operating its own health insurance exchange to comply with the Affordable Care Act, leaving it up the federal government to implement it instead. The state has certified “navigators” – people who have been trained to assist Indiana residents on how to use the health insurance exchange and have posted their contact information on the website of the state’s Department of Insurance, at www.in.gov.in/idoi.
But there aren’t certified navigators in every community in the state, leaving many Indiana residents to figure out the exchange on their own.
One major area of confusion is when to sign up. The online enrollment to buy insurance started Tuesday, but coverage doesn’t kick in until Jan. 1. And consumers have until March 31, 2014, to sign up.