Politics & Government

The Buzz: Kamala Harris shuts down health website posers

A.G. cracks down on websites posing as Covered California

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has dropped the hammer on 10 private health insurance websites posing as the website for Covered California, the state’s official online marketplace where customers can obtain plans under the federal Affordable Care Act.

“These websites fraudulently imitated Covered California in order to lure consumers away from plans that provide the benefits of the Affordable Care Act,” Harris said in a prepared statement.

The state-sanctioned website is at coveredca.com. The imitator sites were being run by private insurance brokers or companies and carried domain names similar to the state’s health exchange, such as californiabenefitexchange.com, californiahealthbenefitexchange.com and www.coveredcalifornia.com.

The website operators were sent cease-and-desist letters telling them their sites violated state law and demanding their removal or transfer of their domains to the state exchange. All of the sites contacted complied with the attorney general’s demand.

Contact Covered California at consumerprotection@covered.ca.gov.

– Christopher Cadelago

REGULATION WATCH

The state released draft hydraulic-fracturing regulations Friday, starting a months-long public-review process to craft final rules by 2015. Department of Conservation Director Mark Nechodom said the proposal strikes a balance between strong safeguards and ensuring that the state’s oil and gas industry remains competitive. While some praise fracking as a way to wean the U.S. off of foreign oil, environmentalists warn that it represents a public health hazard.

– Jeremy B. White

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