How to avoid public health insurance renewal scams in New York

N.Y. (WETM) — New York Attorney General Letitia James and Acting Department of Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald are warning New Yorkers about a scam that targets people enrolled in public health insurance programs.

“It is despicable that scammers are trying to exploit New Yorkers’ need for quality health insurance and uncertainty over ongoing Medicaid coverage,” said Attorney General James. “The best tool consumers and families have to combat scams is knowledge, and that is why I am committed to raising this issue.”

According to the attorney general’s office, people enrolled in Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and the Essential Plan have to renew their coverage for the first time in three years. Scammers are trying to take advantage of this by threatening people with lost coverage unless they pay a fee. The attorney general’s office released a guide to avoid falling victim to this scam.

Renewing Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and the Essential Plan is free. Government agencies will never call you asking for money to renew your insurance. They will also never ask for credit or payment information over the phone or through text messages. Government employees will never threaten you, either. Scammers rely on fear tactics and a sense of urgency to trick people into sending them money.

If your coverage is ending, you should receive notices ahead of the dates your coverage ends. The notices will have detailed instructions about how to stay covered and the deadline for renewal. These notices will never ask for money and will clearly be from a government agency.

Whether you enrolled in public health insurance through your county or the New York State of Health, there are people available to help you renew your coverage for free. If you enrolled through the New York State of Heath, you can visit this website or call 1-855-355-5777 for help. If you enrolled in Medicaid through your county’s Medicaid office, you should contact that office directly for renewal help. You can find contact information for your county’s Medicaid office on this webpage.

If you think you have been targeted by a scam, you can file a complaint with the attorney general’s office online or call 800-771-7755.