Here’s the catch: Open enrollment season is upon us and the scammers are in full force. Some common versions of the scam include so-called Medicare representatives calling or emailing and threatening to suspend benefits if the recipient does not provide billing or private information. Many times seniors are targeted and end up being victims of identity theft or fraud.
The con artists also pose as official Medicare agents, or government employees trying to sell individuals Medicare insurance. Be aware that Medicare does not have sales representatives. The scammers are also telling recipients that they must join a prescription plan (also known as Part D) to keep Medicare coverage, which is false. Part D is voluntary and has nothing to do with the rest of the recipient’s Medicare coverage. These types of scams are taking place nationwide and are done by phone call, email, text message, mail, and even social media.
Kim’s Advice: Stay vigilant. Be cautious of any calls, emails, text messages, or communications that seem suspicious. Never give your information to anyone that solicits you out of the blue. Disconnect from anyone that pressures or threatens you for quick payment or personal information. Don’t fall for offers of free equipment, medical supplies, or services in exchange for your information. Also, be wary of calls that appear to come from government agencies such as Medicare. Scammers often spoof numbers to make it appear they are coming from official agencies.
If you’re shopping for private insurance, check with your state insurance commissioner’s office to make sure the plan is properly licensed. If you need assistance with Medicare call 1-800-MEDICARE or visit Medicare.gov. Assistance with medical plans, coverage, and costs is available through Healthcare.gov. You can also find local help through the website.
If you know of or encounter a scam, file a complaint with Business Consumer Alliance. You can also report Medicare related scams to Medicare at 800-633-4227.
Open enrollment for 2020 runs from November 1 to December 15, 2019. Visit https://www.healthcare.gov/apply-and-enroll/how-to-apply/ to find out how to apply.
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.