While Medicare Scams are a year-round concern, we should be increasingly weary of them now, as Medicare is currently in open enrollment until December 7th 2022. Medicare scammers use this open enrollment period to take advantage of individuals looking to enroll.
We can all stay safe and protected from these scams by staying in the know and taking the proper precautions. Below are some common methods that scammers use during this open enrollment period each year:
Method 1: Being contacted by a fake medicare agent
A fake Medicare agent will cold call or even knock at your door attempting to sell you a limited time offer during this open enrollment period. This is an indication of a Medicare scam as “by law, legitimate Medicare plans are permitted to contact you only if you have previously requested information, and they aren’t allowed to offer you cash or gifts worth more than $15 to join their plan” (Medicare, 2022)
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) only makes calls in 2 specific situations (according to AgingCare, 2022)
A Medicare health or drug plan can call you if you’re already a member of the plan. (The agent who helped you join can also call you.)
A customer service representative from 1-800-MEDICARE can call you if you’ve called and left a message or a representative said that someone would call you back.
So make sure if you haven't asked a Medicare Agent to contact you, do not answer cold calls and do not give out personal information to anyone showing up at your door. And If an “agent” or “representative” tries to sell you something on behalf of Medicare unsolicited, you should report that person to the authorities immediately.
Method 2: Counterfeit Medicare Promotional Materials
This method involves circulating very believable counterfeit Medicare brochures, usually left in mailboxes. These brochures showcase “new and discounted products” and “special discounts only available during open enrollment” to the public in hopes Scammers sometimes create and circulate very official-looking brochures and sales materials for new Medicare products that are available at a “discounted price” during the open enrollment period (AgingCare, 2022).
Their main objective of these brochures is to get seniors to reach out and pay for these non-existent Medicare deals. Always be skeptical of promotions you come across as CMS do not directly promote or sell any of these options. If you come across any promotions that you are interested in, do not make contact using information listed on the promotional material. Instead of contact you can make contact with Medicare directly to inquire at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
Method 3: Call threatening loss of medicare coverage
Scammers use this method to call Medicare beneficiaries and threaten loss of coverage if they do not purchase “a prescription drug coverage plan (also known as Medicare Part D)” during the open enrollment period (AgingCare, 2022). This is a definite red flag indicating a Medicare scam - as no legitimate Medicare agent would make such claims.
Method 4: Fake Rebates
This method consists of calling a Medicare beneficiary to let them know they are owed a refund as they have “reached the prescription drug coverage gap known as the “donut hole”. Of course, the catch is that the senior must provide their birth date, Social Security number, bank account and Medicare number so the refund can be automatically deposited into their checking account.” (AgingCare, 2022)
It is crucial to remember that legitimate Medicare will never make contact with a beneficiary to confirm personal information such as Social Security Number or Medicare Number. If someone contacts you claiming to be from Medicare and asks for your private information make sure you hang up and report the call to 1-800-MEDICARE.
How to protect yourself from scams during medicare open enrollment:
- If anyone calls you with the previously mentioned claims, remember that these are signs of Medicare scams and you should hang up the call.
- Remember to only share your Medicare number with trusted healthcare providers and never with a stranger calling you at random.
- Lastly, if you want more information on these scams feel free to watch this video created by Medicare themselves on the topic:
Genie will automatically block malicious callers like this:
Genie is a digital personal assistant answering unknown callers on behalf of each Genie owner. Genie speaks to the callers, determines who’s calling, why, and decides if they should be blocked or allowed through. For more about Genie you can visit https://www.lifesgenie.com/.
We want you to know that you are not alone and that Genie is here for you.