Don’t Get Scammed During Medicare Open Enrollment

While Medicare Open Enrollment is under way, the Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) reminds seniors to be alert to potential scams.

Medicare Open Enrollment, from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, is the time when beneficiaries can compare plans and decide whether to switch to a new Medicare Part D or Medicare Ad- vantage Plan; switch to original Medicare from Medicare Advantage; or stay in in their cur- rent plan.

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, according to Ro- na McNally, Director of the statewide Missouri SMP.

“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 2019.” McNally said. “You should have already gotten information in the mail about what changes your plan is making. Take the time to read it.”

Medicare Open Enrollment can bring out the fraudsters, and beneficiaries may get inun- dated with sales pitches. Fraud schemes often depend on identity thieves getting ahold of people’s Medicare numbers.

“That’s why you must guard your Medicare number. Don’t share your Medicare number with anyone who contacts you by telephone, email or in person,” McNally advised.

Most Medicare health plan marketing materials that you receive in the mail are legitimate pro- motions to educate you on the options. However, don’t automatically return postcards requesting more information. And, make certain to report suspicious activity.

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 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.

As always, report suspected Medicare fraud or abuse to the Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol at (888)515-6565.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MPPG0040, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.

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