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Medicare open enrollment – common marketing scams

During Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period (OEP), which begins Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 7, Medicare beneficiaries can choose the plans that are best for them for 2023. As you look for your best health coverages options, keep an eye open for fraudsters.

Know your rights

If you request an appointment with an agent to visit or call to talk about your Medicare coverage options, remember you have certain rights and agents must follow the law:

— Agents must give you information only about items listed in the scope of the appointment form you filled out when you asked for an appointment. They can’t talk about other Medicare or insurance products that you didn’t ask to talk about.

— Agents can’t set their own time limits for you to sign up for a plan. Everyone has until December 7 to enroll, there aren’t any extra benefits for signing up early.

— They can’t threaten to take away your benefits if you don’t sign up for a plan, nor can they offer you gifts if you do agree to sign up.

— Agents cannot suggest that Medicare endorses or prefers their plan.

Report a marketing violation

There are limits on how companies and agents selling Medicare plans can contact you and what they can say. For example:

— Medicare plans cannot cold call you. You should never get a phone call from a company with whom you don’t already have a relationship.

— A company must not represent itself as Medicare, Social Security, or Medicaid.

— You shouldn’t get information — like leaflets, flyers, door hangers, etc. — on your car or at home from a company you don’t have an appointment with.

— They can’t mislead you about coverage for prescriptions or services. Always review your Explanation of Benefits (EOB) to be sure your coverage matches what was promised.

— They can’t promise that you can keep your Medigap plan (supplemental plan) when you sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan. You can’t have both a Medigap plan and a Medicare Advantage plan.

Protect your medical information

Scammers might call and pretend to be Medicare representatives or agents in an attempt to steal your Medicare number or other personal information. They can use a fake CallerID name to impersonate Medicare or another organization you know. Don’t trust the name displayed on your phone’s CallerID screen. If anyone calls and asks for your Medicare, Social Security, or bank or credit card information, hang up. A scammer can use your personal information to file false claims, sign you up for a plan to which you didn’t agree, or even steal your identity.

If you notice one of these marketing violations, or if you suspect your Medicare number or Social Security Number has been compromised, think you’ve been enrolled in a plan without your permission, or if you have any questions about Medicare fraud and how to detect and prevent it, contact the ND SMP at 1-800-233-1737.

The information provided is intended to be a general summary only. Source of information: SMP Resource Center.

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