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California orders closure of 10 sites imitating its health exchange

California orders closure of 10 sites imitating its health exchange
California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris advised consumers to visit the state's official exchange website at coveredca.com and avoid online scams. (Covered California)

California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris said she has ordered 10 websites to shut down because they violated state law by imitating the official site of the state's health insurance exchange.

Harris said she began investigating these misleading websites in September and multiple operators were sent cease and desist letters telling them they were in violation of state law.

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"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 statement. "My office will continue to investigate and shut down these kinds of sites."

She said these websites were operated by health insurance brokers or companies that are not affiliated with Covered California, the state insurance marketplace. The official state website is coveredca.com.

Harris said the private sites used phrases such as "Get Covered" and "California Health Benefit Advisers."

Harris said thus far all the website operators who have been contacted have complied with the state's request to either shut down or redirect people to the official exchange website.

Wednesday, Covered California announced that 59,000 people had signed up for private health plans from Oct. 1 through Nov. 12.

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