FTC accuses firm of ObamaCare fraud

Officials at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are accusing a Web company of illegally tricking people into buying insurance by claiming it was necessary under ObamaCare.

The case is the trade commission’s first related to fraud under the Affordable Care Act.

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According to the FTC, the Web company Kobeni sent spam emails from May through August, claiming consumers would break the law if they did not immediately buy health insurance

“Today is the deadline to make your election or be in violation of federal law,” some of the emails said.

“You will be in violation and face penalties if you do not elect. You Must Select One of These 5 Options.”

Links in the emails led to websites displaying ads for insurance that paid Kobeni when the ads were clicked. The FTC alleged insurance companies with ads on the sites did not authorize the spam emails.

The trade commission claimed the Web company violated the FTC Act by falsely stating consumers would be breaking the law unless they bought a health insurance plan by the date listed in their emails. The firm also allegedly broke the law by not notifying people that they could opt out of receiving the emails.  

Under the individual mandate portion of the healthcare law, most people in the U.S. are required to sign up for health insurance by March 31 or pay a fine. There are exemptions for people who cannot afford coverage, Native Americans and others.