When the California health care exchange debuts on October 1st, it will open the doors to a potential floodgate of uninsured Californians looking to buy coverage.
Unfortunately, it appears the high-profile exchange has already attracted some unwelcome guests, too.
California Department of Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones tells NBC Bay Area that the department has had to shut down at least one fraudulent web site ahead of the opening, promoted as ‘California Covered,’ eerily similar to the exchange’s real name, Covered California.
“Whenever you’re talking about that number of people [involved] and that amount of economic activity, there’s always the opportunity for knuckleheads and criminals to come into that space and try to rip people off,” Jones said.
“We care very deeply about fraud at the Department of Insurance,” Jones continued. “We have a very robust system of consumer protections in place to protect people from insurance fraud.”
In addition to the shuttered site, the department has also rejected close to 200 applications from private insurance brokers and agents looking to change their name to a title closely resembling the exchange.
State regulators feel many of those businesses are trying to either confuse consumers or capitalize off the exchange’s high profile.