California state Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced on Thurs., Nov 14 that she shut down 10 private insurance websites that "fraudulently imitated Covered California in order to lure consumers away from plans that provide the benefits of the Affordable Care Act."
The scheme is not new, as many states have discovered similar sites set up to dupe the public.
Covered California is the official insurance marketplace for California residents. Under the ACA, 16 states created their own exchanges, while the remainder offer coverage through a link to the federal marketplace, resulting in a checkerboard of various systems.
According to Harris, the sites she shut down were operated by private health insurance brokers or companies that were not affiliated with Covered California. The websites have domain names similar to the state’s official health-care exchange and contain unauthorized references to the official exchange’s trademarked logo and name. In several cases, websites used the phrases “Get Covered,” “Covered California” and “California Health Benefit Advisers."
According to the release, all website operators who have been contacted by the Attorney General’s office have complied, and the sites in question have been either deactivated or redirected to the official exchange website.