NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- The second Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment period is just weeks away but some Americans are still reeling from scams spawned by the initial Obamacare rollout.
The Federal Trade Commission is mopping up the mess from last year when telemarketers pitched consumers -- particularly Spanish-speaking victims - ACA "qualified" health insurance plans that turned out to be nothing more than worthless discount cards.
The complaint against "Partners in Health Care" said the defendants trolled for prospects through lead-generation Web sites or Spanish-language radio ads. Instead of insurance that covered doctor and emergency room visits, the FTC saids consumers paid enrollment fees and monthly premiums of up to several hundred dollars, receiving no insurance coverage at all, just "nearly worthless" discount cards.
In another scam, seniors were the target of a prescription drug discount plan that offered "substantial" cost savings -- or even free prescription drugs. The cards being sold were freely available elsewhere, and in fact offered no discount to consumers with insurance. The sales pitch also tried to convince older Americans that it was necessary to purchase the $299 card in order to continue receiving Medicare, Social Security or other medical insurance benefits. Of course, that was false as well.