Medicare’s open enrollment period runs from October 16, 2015 through December 7, 2015. Senior citizens age 65 and over can review and make changes to their heath and prescription drug coverage options. Any plan changes will take effect January 1, 2016. Seniors are being warned to look out for potential scams and guard against scam artist that are seeking to mislead or defraud them.
The following tips can help protect consumers from falling prey to a potential scam:
- Never provide your social security or account information to callers claiming to be Medicare employees. Medicare employees won’t call and request such information over the phone. Also, avoid providing such information to callers who claim to be calling on behalf of a doctor, hospital, health agency or insurance company. If you’re uncertain about the identity of the caller, hang up and contact the organization directly on your own.
- Be on the watch for individuals in your neighborhood posing as Medicare representatives. Medicare doesn’t do door-to-door solicitations and you should never allow anyone in your home that you do not know or whom you have not investigated or invited.
- Be wary of offers to provide free medical exams or supplies. This is a popular method con artists and dishonest companies use to obtain and misuse personal information.
- Exercise caution when considering marketing promotions offering free lunch to senior in exchange for attending a presentation or signing up for a plan. Federal laws do not permit a free meal to be provided during the marketing of Medicare health or prescription plans.
- Don’t cave to high pressure tactics to provide your billing information by phone of over the web to any representative. Medicare plan representatives are not allowed to ask you for payment over the phone or web. If a representative demands that information, refuse and request a bill in the mail.
- Don’t give in to aggressive sales tactics or feel forced to purchase a Medicare product or plan that is unnecessary or unsuitable. Take your time to thoroughly review and understand your options before making a decision. Discuss it with someone you trust such as a relative or friend to determine what best suits your needs and income. Remember before you pay, check BCA.
If you suspect or have been a victim of Medicare fraud, report the information to the Inspector General’s office by calling (800) 447-8477 or visiting www.stopmedicarefraud.gov. And let BCA know too by filing a complaint, or leaving a review.
For more information on Medicare visit their website at https://www.medicare.gov (English) or https://es.medicare.gov (Espa?ol). If you have questions about a business or offer consider asking advice from our Ask the Experts forum.
Don’t forget to follow BCA on Facebook and Twitter for up to date and trending topics, tips, and scam topics.
You may also be interested in:
9 Financial Safety Tips for Seniors
About Business Consumer Alliance
Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) is a non-profit company that started in 1928. The broad purpose of BCA is to promote business self-regulation. BCA's mission is achieved by assisting consumers in resolving complaints with businesses and using that complaint information, along with other relevant information such as customer reviews, to forecast business reliability. With community support, BCA can identify trustworthy and ethical businesses and warn the public to avoid unscrupulous businesses whose purpose is to defraud the marketplace. BCA also helps businesses promote themselves by providing services and tools to protect their business and reach out to their customers. BCA obtains its funding from member businesses who support the mission and purpose of the organization and who agree to abide by high standards of ethical business practices.