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Letter to Peter Lee, Executive Director, Covered California - Protect Vulnerable Communities from Fraud

December 13, 2013

Mr. Peter Lee, Executive Director

Covered California

560 J. St., Suite 290

Sacramento, CA 95814

RE: Fraud prevention efforts within Covered California

Dear Mr. Lee:

We write today to first commend Covered California for its achievement in enrolling more than 159,000 Californians into affordable, quality health care plans. With Covered California being the leading marketplace for health care coverage, we are seeing thousands sign up to receive health care for the first time. As a result of the influx of new consumers entering the California Health Insurance Marketplace, there is an increased opportunity for fraud, identity theft, and other criminal activities. In light of the attempts of Covered California fraudulent websites, we are particularly concerned about fraud in our most vulnerable communities such as seniors, minorities, and households where English is not the primary language.

With California having one of the highest rates of uninsured individuals in the United States, it is imperative that we work to protect our nearly 7 million uninsured Californians from insurance fraud. As you know, there have been a number of websites imitating Covered California to lure consumers to sign up for the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Approximately 60 percent of the uninsured California population is Hispanic, 11 percent Asian-American, and 5 percent African American, making minority communities more likely to benefit from the health insurance marketplace. In doing so for the first time, they inherently face a higher risk of falling victim to fraudulent business schemes aimed at taking advantage of the new process to enroll for health insurance. Moreover, seniors who rely heavily on Medicare have also been a target for scam artists, attempting to pressure seniors into updating their Medicare information and divulge personal information such as Social Security numbers.

As the leading health insurance marketplace, we are pleased with Covered California's commitment to protect consumers and educate the public of potential threats. Furthermore, we urge you to ensure that health insurance fraud prevention efforts remain a priority in California, especially among our most vulnerable communities. Ensuring that our seniors, minorities, and communities with limited English proficiency have equal access to information will help reduce potential threats and gives our families the tools they need to access genuine affordable, quality healthcare. We are committed to combat health insurance fraud and strengthen program integrity for our California communities.

Sincerely,

Loretta Sanchez (CA-46), Grace Napolitano (CA-32) Linda Sánchez (CA-38), Tony Cardenas (CA-29), Mark Takano (CA-41), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Mike Honda (CA-17), Jim Costa (CA-16), Raul Ruiz (CA-36), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47)


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