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Iowa Seniors: Beware of Health Reform Scams

April 12, 2010

DES MOINES, Iowa - Now that health care reform is on the books, many older Iowans have questions about what is in it. Unfortunately, their confusion is providing an opportunity for illegal activities, according to Bruce Keoppl, state director of AARP Iowa.

Because the law is brand new, there are lots of questions about how it will work and how it will affect each family, Koeppl says. AARP has discovered that the situation has created fertile ground for con artists to sell phony health insurance policies and other products supposedly "endorsed" by the new law, he adds.

"Folks out there are trying to take advantage of this confusion. We are beginning to hear stories of people being called and offered things that are not accurate, that are not true - people are being scammed."

To try to help fend off scammers, AARP has set up an online resource dedicated to answering common questions, as well as more complicated issues (www.aarp.org). Other consumer groups are doing the same.

Koeppl notes that new Medicaid "doughnut hole" coverage and doctor choice are hot topics right now for those over age 65.

"The prescription drug program and aid for those going into the doughnut hole will get some immediate help this year. People are trying to figure that out. They also are concerned about whether or not they will be able to keep their doctor. Of course, they will be able to."

Older Iowans also can submit questions on the website if something isn't clear, Koeppl says.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA