To give people who may have found themselves without health insurance because of the COVID-19 pandemic a chance to sign up for healthcare coverage, the U.S. federal government opened Medicare.gov starting October 15, 2021, and it will be open until tomorrow, December 7, 2021.
As with any open enrollment period, scammers see this as the perfect time to try and take advantage of you and steal your personal information. Scammers have a great way of making their tactics seem legitimate, a Medicare scam can even come in the form a brochure or a “cold call” to your home. Senior Medicare Patrol has some great tips on what constitutes a Medicare marketing violation, such as receiving unsolicited phone calls or in-home visits. You can read more of the tips from Senior Medicare Patrol here.
BBB also has some tips to help you avoid open enrollment scams:
- Be wary of anyone who contacts you unsolicited. People representing Medicare or ACA plans don’t contact you by phone, email, or in person unless you are already enrolled. Be especially cautious of threatening calls that require quick action or immediate payment.
- Decline promotional gifts in exchange for personal information. Keep a healthy level of skepticism any time a broker offers you free gifts, health screenings, or other special deals. Never sign up with a broker who offers you an expensive “sign-up gift” in exchange for providing your Medicare ID number or other personally identifiable information.
- Beware of dishonest brokers who offer “free health screenings.” Some brokers offer this to weed out people who are less healthy. This is called “cherry picking” and is against the Medicare rules.
- Guard your government-issued numbers. Never offer your Medicare ID number, Social Security number, health plan info, or banking information to anyone you don’t know.
- Hang up and go to official websites. You can enroll or re-enroll in Medicare at Medicare.gov or in a marketplace health plan at Healthcare.gov.