Medicare open enrollment is a prime time for scammers to come out of the woodwork. Plus, with the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, there are plenty of unscrupulous people trying to take advantage of the confusion surrounding the new Health Care Marketplace.
Just recently, one of our clients received a call from someone at “Medicare” offering to help her navigate the Health Insurance Marketplace, but first asked her to provide her Medicare and Social Security numbers.
While there are trained helpers whose focus is assisting you with finding a fitting plan, these officials will never ask for confidential information; anyone truly with Medicare will already have it.
Another scam involves medical discounts, which are touted as ways to save money while meeting your required minimum coverage. These plans are often discount clubs, not true insurance, and other times they’re simply thinly veiled attempts to get personal or financial information.
Scams like these come in many forms, including phone calls, emails, texts, and letters. The bottom line is scammers are becoming more diligent, so you need to be, too.
Know that the government will not call about your health insurance, nor will they ask you to verify your Social Security number, bank information, or credit card number. No one should charge for Medicare cards or assistance with finding a new plan. And, remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE with any concerns, and if you spot a scam, notify the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP. It’s also a good idea to report the crime to the police.
Although you should always be on the lookout, be particularly aware this open season, October 17-December 7.
Joan Dyer is an Accredited Financial Counselor® and Partner at Elder Advocates LLC, and can be reached at 970-818-2050 or www.elderadvocatesllc.com