Obamacare, fraud, medical bills and bankruptcy
With the recent criticism over President Obama’s promise that those who like their current healthcare coverage can keep it, echoing in the halls of the Capitol Building, Tennessee residents are experiencing a new, somewhat unexpected issue related to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare. According to Watchdog.org, a collection of independent journalists covering state-specific and local government activity, a host of Tennessee residents have fallen victim to a new wave of fraud, specifically related to the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
Reports from the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance explain that “scam artists” have been calling people in Tennessee, claiming to represent a certified application counselor service. The callers ask for a $100 fee to walk people through the application process. While that fee may seem reasonable, the certified counselor service is a free service, that will remain free, and will not be administered by people over the telephone asking for payment or confidential information. Other scam artists are calling, asking for Medicare numbers for the purpose of updating profiles. Unfortunately, those perpetuating these crimes are preying upon what some claim to be “Tennessee residents’ relative lack of knowledge about the new healthcare law” as well as the elderly.
Falling victim to identity theft, or other related scams is just one way in which Tennessee lawmakers predict Tennessee residents will experience financial problems. As reported by the Washington Examiner, in the wake of the White House’s report on the cost of Obamacare for most Americans, Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander reported on his analysis, specific to the State of Tennessee.
His press release indicated that monthly healthcare premiums for 27-year-old men and women are currently as low as $41 and $58, respectively. According to the Obamacare exchange, the lowest state average for those same individuals would be over $100 per month, amounting to a near 200 and 100 percent increase, respectively. The report highlights that there are more than 30 plans in Nashville, available to women, that cost less than the lowest plan on the exchange, and 105 plans that are available today, will no longer be available.
As Tennessee residents, and Americans everywhere brace themselves for the possibility of increased insurance premiums, most feel that increased financial strain in an already difficult economy will only get worse. This past summer Today.com reported that the most common cause of personal bankruptcy is unpaid medical bills. The report explained that due to rising medical costs and unpaid bills, an estimated 1.7 million households in America are anticipated to file for bankruptcy this year.
In an effort to save costs, a reported 25 million people refrain from refilling and taking their prescription medications, an act which may lead to long-term, more costly medical problems. According to Today.com, over 20 percent of the United States population between the ages of 19 and 64 will struggle to pay their medical bills, even if they have not yet considered bankruptcy as an option. The statistics are based on the growing amount of people who are under newer, high-deductible insurance plans, which can cost a family with a household income of just $50,000 between $5,000 and $10,000 out-of-pocket. While those who have been completely uninsured may feel relief, it is estimated that 10 million adults who currently have health coverage will not be able to pay off the medical bills they receive this year.
If you are struggling to pay your bills, and are considering bankruptcy as an option, contact an experienced bankruptcy today.