Attorney General Letitia James and acting Department of Health Commissioner James McDonald are warning New Yorkers about a new scam, in which residents are falsely asked to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to maintain their state health insurance.
Some callers threaten to have the policies canceled if no payment is given, officials said.
“This is false, and the New York agencies that administer Medicaid benefits will never charge or ask for money from consumers to enroll or re-enroll,” said a news release from James.
Under federal law, implemented during the pandemic to allow for uninterrupted enrollment ended on March 31, people enrolled in Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and the Essential Plan will have to renew their health insurance coverage for the first time since March 2020. The state has now resumed the practice of reviewing and renewing eligibility for those enrolled in those plans.
“The best tool consumers and families have to combat scams is knowledge, and that is why I am committed to raising this issue,” James said in a news release.
James and McDonald offer the following tips to enrollees:
- No one can ever charge you a fee to renew your Medicaid, Child Health Plus, or the Essential Plan insurance plans.
- Government agencies will never threaten an individual, demand a person to pay money, or ask for credit information in a text message or phone call.
- Keep an eye out for official New York State logos on any communication.
State of Health-certified enrollment assisters are available to assist those enrolled in health insurance through NY State of Health. Officials said residents should only share private information with certified assisters, customer service representatives or facilitated enrollers.
“These schemes are maliciously preying on public health insurance enrollees as they navigate the return of renewals for the first time in three years,” McDonald said in a statement.
Through the public health emergency, about 81,000 people gained coverage in Nassau, while about 102,000 did the same in Suffolk, according to state health department data.
For more information, or if you suspect you’re a victim of this scam, call 800-771-7755 to file a complaint or visit the New York State Department of Health website.