If you think the Grinch who stole Christmas was bad, wait until you hear about the scammers trying to steal your peace of mind while signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). During the holiday season, when generosity is at its peak and vulnerability often lurks, it’s crucial to keep an eye out. This is especially true during the Open Enrollment period for health insurance, happening now through 1/15 in most states. 

Scammers love to masquerade as insurance brokers or providers, but they’re more interested in snatching your confidential information than spreading holiday cheer. So, whether you are in Nevada, Minnesota, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Idaho, or any other state, beware of deceptive websites like “nvhealthcare.org,” “obamacare-registration.org,” or “obamacare-enroll.org.” These sites are not the real deal, despite boasting otherwise. Before we continue, here are links to the correct sites for all states*:  

*If you’re unsure of where to turn to buy a plan, or if your state isn’t listed above, HealthCare.gov is a good place to start.  

Don’t be fooled into sharing personal information over the phone, like your social security number or banking details with anyone calling you out of the blue. Only engage with folks you’ve deliberately chosen to work with. State-based exchanges and HealthCare.gov have a network of trusted brokers and navigators, so be sure you know who you are speaking to. And hey, forget about paying for enrollment assistance! Every exchange, whether a state-based or HealthCare.gov offers free assistance. 

Let us not forget about those “Short-Term” plans; while they may serve a purpose for some, make sure you know what you are getting into. Before considering these plans, understand their limitations and risks. They won’t give you the coverage you truly need. They may deny you if you have pre-existing conditions, skip essential health benefits, and conveniently forget about out-of-pocket maximums. Talk about a stocking full of disappointment! 

But wait, there’s more! These short-term plans aren’t considered “creditable coverage.” So, if the plan comes to an end, they might just leave you hanging, especially if you have a serious medical condition. And since they’re not ACA plans, if you lose coverage, a special enrollment period will not open. You could be left without coverage until the next Open Enrollment Period—quite the holiday hiccup! 

At the end of the day, be sure to protect yourself from these health insurance Grinches during Open Enrollment. Don’t let them steal your jolly spirit and leave you stranded without adequate coverage. Happy Holidays and stay merry!