As Medicare Open Enrollment Approaches, Continue to Guard Your Card!

As Medicare Open Enrollment Approaches, Continue to Guard Your Card!

As Medicare Open Enrollment (Oct 15 – Dec 7) approaches, and public outreach about Medicare enrollment options and changes for 2020 increase, scammers will most likely ramp up their efforts to strike. You can help protect yourself and the Medicare program from health care fraud by guarding your Medicare card like a credit card, checking your Medicare claims summary forms for errors, and being wary of unsolicited requests for your Medicare number. Remember that Medicare will never call you to ask for or check your Medicare numbers.

Below are some quick security tips from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to protect yourself from fraudsters, and below that is a short 30-sec PSA about guarding your card.

  • Never accept medical supplies from a door-to-door salesman. If someone comes to your door claiming to be from Medicare, remember that Medicare and Medicaid do not send representatives to your home.
  • Never give your Medicare card, Medicare number, Social Security card, or Social Security number to anyone except your doctor or people you know should have it.
  • Remember, nothing is ever “free.” Never accept offers of money or gifts for free medical care.
  • Be wary of providers who tell you that the item or service isn’t usually covered, but they “know how to bill Medicare” so Medicare will pay.
  • Always check your medications before leaving the pharmacy to be sure you received the correct medication prescribed, including whether it’s a brand or generic name. If you don’t get your prescription filled correctly, report the problem to the pharmacist.

Report suspected fraud to our California Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-855-613-7080.

Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.