Date: October 24, 2016 | Category: News
October’s Fraud Prevention Fact deals with Medicare Open Enrollment, which begins October 15th. This is when you can compare plans and decide whether to switch to a new Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage Plan; you can switch to original Medicare from Medicare Advantage; or you can stay where you are.
If you are already enrolled in Medicare and a Medicare Part D plan, you don’t have to do anything. But it’s wise to check into the choices you have for next year. Plans change, and your needs may change from one year to the next. If this is the case, it’s especially important to look at your choices for 2017. You should have already gotten information in the mail about what changes your plan is making.
BEWARE. Medicare Open Enrollment can bring out the fraudsters. As a Medicare beneficiary, you may be inundated with sales pitches. Fraud schemes often depend on identity thieves getting ahold of people’s Medicare numbers. So guard your Medicare number. Treat it as you would a credit card. Don’t share your Medicare number with anyone who contacts you by telephone, email or by approaching you in person.
Most Medicare Health Plan marketing materials that you receive in the mail are legitimate promotions to educate you on the options. However, don’t automatically return postcards requesting more information. And, don’t hesitate to report suspicious activity.
Don’t ever let anyone borrow or pay to use your Medicare number. Be wary of salespeople who knock on your door or call you uninvited and try to sell you a product or service. Be suspicious of anyone who contacts you about Medicare plans unless you have given them permission.
Don’t let anyone rush you to enroll by claiming you need to “act now for the best deal.”
Look for plan information on the Medicare.gov Plan Finder. You can compare the plans online. If you need help, you may call the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) to find a trained counselor who can help you with a one-on-one appointment. That number is (800) 390-3330. Report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol at (888) 515-6565.
SMPs are funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living, Administration on Aging.