OLYMPIA, Wash. — Editor's note: The above video previously aired on KING 5 in 2019.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is warning consumers to be on the lookout for websites posing as the state's health insurance marketplace while open enrollment is underway.
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange said it has received dozens of complaints since enrollment began from Washingtonians reporting fake websites pretending to be the real health insurance marketplace site.
Scammers use fake websites to steal a consumer's private information, such as social security numbers and birthdates, which can expose individuals to fraud and identity theft, according to Ferguson's office.
To avoid getting scammed, the attorney general's office is recommending consumers follow these helpful tips during open enrollment:
- Verify the web address of the exchange: The only official web address for the online marketplace is www.wahealthplanfinder.org. Any other site with a variation on the name or with an address that ends in “.net” or “.com” is not the state’s official marketplace. If you are unsure whether you have found the official website, call Washington Healthplanfinder toll-free at 1-855-WAFINDER.
- Don’t pay for free stuff: The official marketplace for the state of Washington is the only place where you can receive tax credits, subsidies or access to free coverage through Medicaid or Washington Apple Health. Washingtonians never have to pay to sign up for free or low-cost health coverage in the marketplace.
- Reach out to free, legitimate help: Only individuals who are certified by Washington Healthplanfinder or Medicaid to assist you with the enrollment process should request personal information to complete your application during a scheduled visit. This help is always free. If you don’t know whether someone is certified to assist you, call the Washington Healthplanfinder Customer Support Center at 1-855-WAFINDER. Community volunteers trained by Medicaid can be verified by calling 1-800-562-3022 or emailing AskMedicaid@hca.wa.gov.
“There will always be individuals who want to take advantage of our health insurance consumers,” said Michael Marchand, chief marketing officer for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “Our goal is to make sure people enrolling in health coverage do so only with certified individuals and visit the correct website address at wahealthplanfinder.org.”
Open enrollment continues in Washington state through Dec. 15.
To report a website posing as the health benefits exchange, file a complaint with the Washington State Attorney General's Office.