Over 600 impoverished people out of both Carolinas are the latest victims of an alleged Obamacare bamboozler who signed them up for a commission and then left them in the dust with enormous healthcare fees.
The premise is simple, homeless or otherwise impoverished individuals are promised free healthcare, all they have to do is provide their names and social security numbers. After signing up, however, they quickly find out the insurance wasn’t actually free, and they actually owe a $5,000 deductible.
This was allegedly how Will Kennedy, an insurance agent out of Charlotte, was able to start collecting commission from hundreds of new enrollees.
“What I have done, and what I make no apology for, is to work diligently to inform low-income individuals about their rights under the ACA and to help those who qualify obtain the health insurance for which they are eligible,” Kennedy told The Charlotte Observer.
The alleged abuse was first brought to light through a complaint filed with the N.C. Department of Insurance. The complaint informed the agency that all the applications Kennedy submitted came from those with an estimated annual income of $11,700 but who mostly still listed homeless shelters as their primary place of residence.
“Mr. Kennedy signed up for an account on our agent service on Mon [sic] Apr 13 and submitted over 600 applications to the Marketplace,” the complaint, obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation, states.
“Almost all of these enrollments were for individuals with an income reported of exactly $11,700 (the federal poverty level), which qualified these individuals for a full APTC,” the complaint continues. “Further investigation determined that the addresses of many of these individuals are homeless shelters in North and South Carolina.”
The plan was aimed at people that fell into what is known as the coverage gap. It’s estimated that millions of Americans make too much to qualify for free assistance but too little to actually afford healthcare. Kennedy argued his method was a risk-free way to get the homeless health insurance for which they would not otherwise qualify. He told the homeless to claim bartering and panhandling as $11,700 a year salaries, just enough to get out of the gap and qualify for federal aid, The Charlotte Observer reports.
After signing up the homeless Kennedy would then collect a monthly commission. The new enrollees would also qualify Aetna, the insurance company he sold for as an independent broker, for thousands of dollars from the federal government.
“We have begun investigating him ourselves,” a spokeswoman for Aetna told TheDCNF, “We have a special investigative unit.”
Nathan Nascimento, a senior policy advisor for Freedom Partners, said this is indicative of the greater problems Obamacare causes.
“Instead of expanding access to quality care, the ACA has opened new doors to fraud and abuse,” Nascimento told TheDCNF.
“This is a broken law that encourages people to prey on the most vulnerable, and expanding it to force people into a broken Medicaid system is the last thing we should do,” he continued. “It’s time to get Washington out of our healthcare system and empower the states to get healthcare right.”
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 4 million people fall into the coverage gap. As its report notes, the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare was supposed to address the problem but some states decided not to enact the expansion because it would owe untold billions of dollars to the federal government after 2017.
A spokeswoman for the N.C. Department of Insurance told TheDCNF that it has requested information and assistance from the federal government because the policies were purchased on the federal exchange.
Kennedy did not respond to a request for comment from TheDCNF.