Between Oct 15 – Dec 7, you can make changes to your health coverage. Medicare’s Open Enrollment is one of the few times you can return to Original Medicare, switch MA and/or Part D drug plans, or join a health plan.
Yet, navigating so many plans and choices can be confusing and creates a ripe environment for fraud.
For free, unbiased Medicare information and assistance, call your local Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) at 1-800-434-0222.
Here are tips on how to protect yourself and loved ones from scams during open enrollment season:
- Medicare does not have sales representatives: Don’t believe a salesperson who claims to be a Medicare representative. Medicare does not send “representatives” to solicit your business.
- Unsolicited sales calls are prohibited: Federal regulations prohibit unsolicited telephone calls, door- to-door visits, emails and other forms of sales without your permission. If you have not requested that someone contact you, it may be a scam.
- Guard your personal information: Never give out personal information such as your Social Security number, bank account numbers, or credit card information over the telephone. Verify that the person you are dealing with has proper authority to act on behalf of the plan before you provide your Medicare number.
- Keep a record of who you speak with and the information that you provide to that person.
- Beware of cross-selling: Cross-selling occurs when a salesperson approaches you for one purpose but then tries to sell you something else. This could lead to an unplanned purchase of a product that may not be in your best interest. Salespeople may not market health care–related products (such as annuities, life insurance, etc.) during a Medicare Advantage or Part D sales activity.
- Take your time: Don’t feel pressured to make a quick decision. Be sure that you understand the details of a plan before you enroll. Verify copayment amounts and whether your medical providers participate in the plan that you are considering.
- You don’t have to make a change: If you are satisfied that your current plan will meet your needs for the coming year, you don’t need to change plans. Confirm the details of your current plan before making a switch.
If you come across any scams, report them to our California Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-855-613-7080. Make sure you talk with your health care provider before making changes as well.