A story was published based on this PR in the Palm Beach Post on October
26th, 2013. See
Wild Obamacare web demand fuels boom for South Florida site.
Websites like Healthcare.com and Healthcare.org have no affiliation with
the Federal government, yet capture traffic by piggybacking on sly domain
names, resulting in solicitations from insurance agents and the sale of
your personal data.
For Immediate Release – 10/25/13 – West Palm Beach, FL. The Internet is a portal for convenience and information access, but
inherently, it offers the perfect platform for fraudsters and unscrupulous
activity. With the rollout of the Federal Government's health insurance
exchange website, Healthcare.gov, comes new opportunities to exploit consumers
that are particularly vulnerable to falling for a digital trap.
Websites with domain names akin to the official Obamacare website, Healthcare.gov,
use slight variation like Healthcare.com and Healthcare.gov, to log big
traffic numbers from unassuming consumers. Visitors may or may not realize
these websites are not in any way associated with the Federal government
Rather, these websites act as affiliate or referral websites that capture
basic visitor data, and then sell that information in real-time to insurance
companies and insurance agents through the implementation of "comparison"
websites, much like the model airline and hotel comparison sites like
The problem, of course, is that consumers will not be able to tell which
websites are legitimate, using standard industry web and data encryption
software, and which are not. Further, there's no easy way to tell
who owns or runs these websites, or what they do with the information
you unwittingly give it to them.
A WHOIS search of the owners of Healthcare.com revealed the owner(s) as
the registrants for another website, MedicareSupplement.com. Jose Vargas
is listed as the officer of the company Healthcare.com Corporation, and
the address listed in the Sunbiz.org filing is 3250 NE 1ST Ave., Miami,
FL. 33137. Also at the same location is B Green Investments, Inc., another
Florida corporation. The phone number there is 305-400-0818.
A WHOIS search of the owner(s) of Healthcare.org revealed much less –
it's a private domain listing. However, the address does show up -
3250 NE 1ST Ave., Miami, FL. 33137.
Once you enter in basic information on Healthcare.com, you're re-directed
to a comparison website. The first two links on the page take you to the
same website, eHealth.com, though the link tabs are presented as two different
providers on healthcare information. Healthcare.com offers an affiliate
program for web markers through the referral fee exchange website CommissionJunction.com,
which is no doubt how Jose Vargas makes his money with Healthcare.com
Regardless of which "plan" you click on (Capture4.jpg), you are
met with a page that requires you to fill out an application. It's
not clear whether the successful submission of an application enrolls
you in a healthcare plan, or if it simply passes the information on as
a lead to insurance sales agents.
One thing is for sure: both websites, in conjunction with each other, feel
and seem like a credible marketplace very similar in look, feel, and design
flow to Healthcare.gov. An example of another "leads" website
affiliated with Healthcare.com is Health-Insurance-Companies.com. This
website is far less sophisticated, even displaying a "looking for
leads?" link in the footer, directed at insurance sales agents, that
links to this page selling lead generation services to them.
It's also not obvious that these websites are committing any specific
statutory fraud, although there have been stories of states around the
country cracking down on fraudulent health care-focused websites and splash
pages that mimic the official exchange website for that state.
None of these websites contain a disclaimer to consumers or visitors that
they are not affiliated in any way with Healthcare.gov, U.S. Health and
Human Services, or the Affordable Care Act. This is an especially important
piece of pertinent information consumers should be aware of, as the Federally-run
exchange website Healthcare.gov continues to cause disruptions and issues
for consumers interested in signing up for health care through the website.
Craig Goldenfarb, a West Palm Beach-based attorney, said of the lead-capture
websites, "Consumers need to be extraordinarily conscious while perusing
the Internet these days, and seeking or attempting to obtain information
about the health care exchanges and health care information should really
only be limited to independently verifiable, trusted resources like the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, your local county health
care resources branch, and Healthcare.gov."
To interview Mr. Goldenfarb for his expertise on avoiding unscrupulous
health care websites, please contact Tom Copeland at (561) 697-4440 or