Thursday, October 26, 2017

Avoid being scammed during Medicare Open Enrollment Season

Open enrollment for Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans for 2018 run from November 1st to December 15, 2017. The open enrollment period is an opportunity to review your current health needs and make adjustments based on your current health care needs. It is also an opportunity for scam artists to try and take advantage of you.

To avoid being scammed, be on the lookout for these common scams:

  1. Switch your plan. An insurance agents tells you that open enrollment isn't just a chance to change your Medicare plans, it is a must. If you fail to change your plan you could lose your current coverage. Note: You are not required to change plans during open enrollment.
  2. Changing cards.  Someone tells you your Medicare card is changing. If you update your information a new card will be sent to you. The scammers gather your credit card and SSN to “issue” you a new Medicare card.
  3. Special pricing. High-pressure, immediate action, and low price pitches for Medicare policies are often just ploys to gather your personal information.
  4. Health fairs. Health fairs give scammers the opportunity for fraud. Scammers will staff a table during a health fair or event. At their table they advertize a free gift or prize if you sign up with your name and Medicare number.
  5. Fake organizations. Be careful of calls from people saying they're from your doctor's office, or state or local health agencies. Scammers often provide a phony, official-sounding name to sound more credible.

To avoid these Medicare scams BBB suggests you:

  1. Protect your Medicare number. Your Medicare number is often your Social Security Number. Just like you would protect your bank and credit card information, you want to keep your Medicare information private unless you are certain you are providing that information to someone who is part of your health care team.
  2. Be cautious of medical suppliers who contact you out of the blue. Medicare will never call or email you with product offers. Also, if an insurance agent calls or visits your home to sell a Medicare product, they are acting illegally.
  3. Know your Medicare coverage's
  4. .  Offers for free medications or medical equipment are most likely scams.
  5. Review your monthly Medicare statements. Check your statements for any suspicious activity.
  6. Know where to shop. To shop for or enroll in legitimate Medicare Advantage or Part D prescription drug plans, go to: or call 800-MEDICARE.

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