Beware – Medicare Scams
November 12, 2012 § 1 Comment
As if open enrollment for Medicare wasn’t stressful enough, there are now several scams that seniors need to be aware of while they are enrolling. Most of the cons aim to either sell the senior unnecessary coverage plans or to simply steal their identity. Either way, the con artists can be very convincing.
A comprehensive list of the most common scams was collected by AgingCare.com. Please take the time to read the list below. Education is the best way to protect yourself from these cons:
SCAM: An “official Medicare agent” knocks on a senior’s door. The agent says she’s selling Medicare insurance that can save the senior thousands of dollars in healthcare costs next year. The offer is only good during Medicare’s open enrollment period.
FACT: There are no Medicare sales representatives. Ignore cold calls. If you haven’t asked for an agent to contact you, federal law prohibits an agent from trying to sell to you — whether it’s a phone call, an e-mail or a knock on your front door. If an agent tries to sell you something on behalf of Medicare, you should report that person to authorities.
SCAM: A senior receives a call that says they must have a prescription drug coverage plan or they will lose their other Medicare benefits. If the senior doesn’t join a plan during enrollment time, their Medicare benefits will be terminated.
FACT: If someone says you must join or you’ll lose your other Medicare benefits, it’s a scam. The Medicare prescription drug benefit is voluntary. It supplements your other Medicare benefits.
SCAM: A senior gets a call from someone claiming that the senior Medicare recipient is owed a $250 refund because they’ve reached the prescription drug coverage gap known as the “donut hole”. The senior is asked to provide their birth date, Social Security number, bank account and Medicare numbers so the refund can be automatically deposited into her checking account.
FACT: Medicare will never call and ask for your Medicare or social security number. No senior should ever give their Medicare number to any caller. Guard your personal information. Treat Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security numbers like a credit card number, and never give these out to a stranger. If someone claims to be with Medicare and asks for your information, ask for their name and report it to 1-800-MEDICARE. Seniors won’t be issued new Medicare cards and do not need to register with anyone to receive the $250 rebate check. The check will be mailed directly to each senior at their home after they hit the prescription drug coverage gap known as the “donut hole”.
SCAM: A senior receives some official-looking brochures about new Medicare products that available at a discounted price during Medicare open enrollment.
FACT: Don’t be fooled by sales materials that look like they’re from the government. Con artists often try to impress consumers with official-looking sales materials that look like they’re from a government agency. Private companies – not the government – sell Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans. Be skeptical of promotional materials claiming to come from the government.
If you have any questions about suspicious calls or offers you or your loved one has received concerning Medicare, please contact the authorities listed above or tLegacy Law Firm, LLC. The firm is located in Sandwich, Illinois and focuses on elder law and Life Care Planning for clients. The office may be reached by calling 815-570-2334 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.