AARP: Medicare Open Enrollment Scams
Medicare’s open enrollment period happens every year from October 15 through December 7. This is the time for Medicare enrollees to review their current coverage and the costs for next year and decide if they want to make changes. So naturally, most Medicare enrollees are going to want to look at their options and shop for the best deal for them. This also provides opportunities for scammers, however.
What to watch out for:
· Medicare imposters calling, emailing or texting “free gifts” or “limited time offers” in exchange for your Medicare number. Don’t respond!
· Other imposters will call and claim you are due a “refund” of premiums that you supposedly overpaid the previous year. They will ask for your Medicare number and bank information to forward this supposed refund. Of course, getting that information allows them to raid your bank account as well as bill fraudulent charges to your Medicare account.
· Beware of pushy sales people, even if they are from legitimate insurance companies. You have until December 7 to make any changes, so take your time and make sure you are getting the coverage that is right for you.
Know your options:
If you need help reviewing your coverage options, ONLY request help from an unbiased source – not someone trying to sell you something. Here are two options:
· Go to Medicare.gov, the official Medicare web site, to review your options online.
· If you want to talk to someone, contact the Alabama Department of Senior Services at 1-800-AGELINE and ask to speak to a counselor from the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (also called SHIP). SHIP counselors are trained to help you review your options.
For more information on staying safe from fraud and scams, go to aarp.org/fraudwatch. It’s a free service to people of all ages from AARP.
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