Know the Facts to Avoid Being Fooled by Open Enrollment Scams

It’s that time of year again for Medicare recipients to participate in the annual Open Enrollment period. If you receive Medicare benefits, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office wants you to know the truth about the scams con-artists use in order to trick you into giving away your personal and financial information.  

Scam: An “official Medicare agent” knocks on your door selling Medicare insurance that can save you thousands of dollars in healthcare costs next year. The offer is only good during Medicare’s open enrollment period.
Fact: There are no Medicare sales representatives. If you haven’t asked for an agent to contact you, federal law prohibits an agent from trying to sell you something on behalf of Medicare. If you receive unsolicited contact by phone, e-mail or a knock on your front door, you should report that person to authorities.

Scam: You receive a call that Medicare is issuing new identification cards and you must provide identifying information such as your Medicare number, birth date or even financial account numbers in order to get your card.
Fact: It is true that Medicare is preparing to issue new cards minus your social security number beginning in April 2018; however, they will NOT call or email you asking for your current card number or other personal identifying information.

Scam: You receive a call that says you are required to have a prescription drug coverage plan and you must sign up during open enrollment or risk having your Medicare benefits terminated.
Fact: If someone says you must join or you will lose your other Medicare benefits, it’s a scam. The Medicare prescription drug benefit is voluntary. It supplements your other Medicare benefits.

Scam: You receive “official looking” brochures about new Medicare products that are available at a discounted price during Medicare open enrollment.
Fact: Do not be fooled by fancy sales materials claiming to be from a government agency. Only private companies sell Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans.

To report any suspected fraud, call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE or the Sheriff’s Office fraud line at 258-3292.