New Healthcare Law Attracts Scammers, Says HHS Secretary Sebelius

4 mins read

Kathleen-SebeliusIn a speech at the National Press Club on Tuesday, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius spoke about how scammers have found a way to try capitalizing on the new healthcare law by setting up 1-800 numbers and going door to door trying to sell fraudulent insurance policies.

“This kind of criminal activity which preys on the Americans who are most vulnerable in our health care system is outrageous,” Sebelius said. “That’s why I sent letters today to state insurance commissioners and attorney generals asking them to investigate and prosecute these scams.”

The HHS secretary also spoke about how change will take time and that any major social legislation comes with revisions and adjustments along the way.

To carry out the new law most effectively, Sebelius said there needs to be communication between the agency and the American people. While most people are aware about the law, many still have questions and they can turn to HHS to have those answered.

“We know that the only way this law will achieve its full potential is if Americans understand and take advantage of all the new benefits and choices that will be available to them,” Sebelius said.

Summing up the healthcare reform with three basic points, Sebelius said the new law makes insurance affordable and provides tax credits for those who need additional help, it requires insurance companies to treat their customers fairly, and it brings costs down for families, businesses and governments

“And the new health reform law will also make it easier for Americans to get insurance,” Sebelius said. “Right now, it’s totally legal for insurance companies to refuse to cover kids who have a preexisting condition. In other words, we have a health insurance system that often excludes the people – sick kids – who need it most.”

Speaking about the implementation of health IT, Sebelius said the Recovery Act has made it possible for “a historic investment in health information technology, which helps patients fill out fewer forms and doctors deliver better care.”

“I’ll give you one example of the kind of impact this technology can have: Yesterday, I visited Cincinnati Children’s Hospital where they’ve now gone over 1,000 days without a serious safety incident in their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  And they say a big part of the reason why is electronic health records,” Sebelius said.

She said that over the next few months, HHS will be reaching out to Americans across the country to make sure they know how to take advantage of the new law. The agency has already begun educating  seniors about prescription drug assistance, and last week it put out a series of fact sheets that explain step-by-step how small-business owners can collect their health care tax credits. Soon, the HHS will publish a similar fact sheet for employers who want to take advantage of a new reinsurance program that will help them provide coverage for early retirees.

“Our goal is to put these Americans back in charge of their healthcare,” Sebelius said. “We will provide information and education if it’s needed; set basic guidelines that will help foster a competitive insurance market; serve as an umpire to make sure insurance companies treat Americans fairly; and provide targeted resources to help empower consumers. But ultimately, this isn’t about us. It’s about you. It’s about giving Americans more choices, more security, and more control.”

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