It’s ‘buyer beware’ as scam artists use reform legislation to prey on confusion of health insurance consumers.

While millions of Americans are anxiously waiting for the various provisions of this year’s landmark health reform legislation to be enacted, they should also be on the lookout for criminals who haven’t hesitated at all to use the legislation as a way to take advantage of consumers.

In the months since President Barack Obama passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, law enforcement and state insurance departments have begun investigating a host of reports about criminal schemes to capitalize on the reforms.

Health and Human Services Secretary Katherine Sebelius has already issued warnings to state attorneys general to be on the lookout for scams that “may be using passage of these historic reforms as an opportunity to confuse and defraud the public.” And in Nevada, an insurance trade organization is running ads to make consumers aware of the scams and rip-off artists.

“Passage of the legislation designed to protect consumers ironically has given criminals ideas for schemes to swindle uninformed consumers,” says Charles Smith Dewey, founder of healthinsurance.org. “Now, more than ever, it’s ‘buyer beware.’”

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