Scams Rampant During Medicare Open Enrollment November 8, 2019 09:44

Medicare open enrollment is ongoing and ends Dec. 7. And you better believe the scammers know it. 

New Medicare Card New Medicare cards have been sent but that isn't stopping scammers who want ID information and credit card information during open enrollment season. The new Medicare card, right, does not contain your Social Security number. The cards are getting a makeover to fight identity theft. 

(Photo: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services via AP) 


Maybe it's someone making a call, claiming to be from your insurance company and demanding information on the spot. Some scammers say you'll need to buy a gift card or wire money soon so that you won't lose your health care benefits. Others are trying to get your Social Security number or other information to use in identity fraud. 

Locally, consumers have been reporting fast-talking, door-to-door sales pitches for signing up for Medicare Advantage Plans.

"One gentleman signed up for a plan through a high pressure insurance agent and as a result he would have lost his Medigap coverage," said said Jenny Jarvis, chief communications and strategy officer for the Area Agency on Aging 1-B in Southfield, MI. 

Fortunately, after talking with counselors at the agency, he was able to switch his coverage back to a Medicare Part D plan and he retained his Medigap plan since it was still in the open enrollment window.

The open enrollment window is ripe for scam artists, Jarvis warns, as scammers often claim to be private companies that offer Medicare to eligible seniors. This month, many Medicare recipients are reviewing whether they want to change their Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans.

"Usually, if you keep your plan, you do nothing," Jarvis said.

Signs of a scam include someone who calls and claims to be able to "help you" sign up for coverage or demands to "confirm billing information" so that you don't lose coverage. 

If you have questions or are confused about your Medicare coverage,               call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)

Remember, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Social Security Administration will not call you and claim that you must update your information. 

from Detroit Free Press