During open enrollment, scammers target Medicare shoppers as they compare plans.  Learn to spot common Medicare scams to protect your personal information!

How to avoid Medicare Scams

Open enrollment has begun and so have Medicare scams.  During open enrollment, Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 this year, U.S. adults already on Medicare have the option of choosing a Medicare plan.  Medicare shopping is tough!  Picking a flawed plan can waste beneficiaries' often limited income, and even lead people to get lower quality care or leave lifesaving prescriptions unfilled. 

While consumers shop for the best plan for them, scammers can swoop in pretending to be helpful, while attempting to steal Medicare beneficiaries’ personal details, financial information and hard-earned savings.  Being aware of potential scams can help keep your personal information from getting into the wrong hands.  Here are some things to look out for during open enrollment: 

Common Medicare Scams: 

Home visitors claiming to be from Medicare:

Medicare will never come to your home uninvited to sell products or services.  Additionally, watch out for people who show up promising you a gift for enrolling in a certain plan, as that’s illegal.

Unsolicited phone calls claiming to be Medicare:

If someone calls out of the blue claiming to represent Medicare or a company that works with Medicare, hang up!  Medicare doesn’t call people unexpectedly and ask for your Medicare number or financial information.  If it was really Medicare, they would already have that information.

Scammers can even fake numbers  on your caller ID that they appear to be coming from a Medicare office, so don't be fooled!

Medicare card replacement scam:

Be aware of calls claiming to be from Medicare, the Social Security Administration or your state’s insurance department insisting you need to get a new Medicare card or replace a paper card with a plastic chip card. This scam has been around since 2018 when Medicare sent beneficiaries new cards with randomly generated ID numbers meant to better protect against identity theft. 

Medicare impostors make calls asking beneficiaries for their new, randomly generated ID number to confirm that the card was received and to "activate" it.  Scammers may even say your new card won't work and offer to send you a replacement card if you give them your personal information.

Medicare Advantage Scams

Sellers of private Medicare Advantage plans will sometimes use illegal tactics to get people to sign up for their plans. Insurance agents and brokers selling Medicare Advantage plans must be licensed by the state in which they operate and follow a long list of rules. Furthermore, they’re prohibited from:

  • Offering cash, meals or gifts worth more than $15 to entice you to enroll in a plan they sell
  • Charging an enrollment fee
  • Asking for contact information for your friends and family members

Additionally, avoid pressure scams from anyone telling you to "act now" to change your plan.  Open enrollment runs through December 7th, giving you time to research a potential new plan and ask questions of sellers of private Medicare Advantage plans.

Protect yourself from Medicare Enrollment scams

With AI and other sophisticated technology, scammers can fool even the savviest consumers who may be embarrassed to admit they were victims of a scam.  Take the following steps to avoid getting caught in a scam:

  • Don’t share your personal information. Avoid answering emails and clicking links from people or companies you don’t know. If a telemarketers calls, hang up! You can always call the Medicare office directly if you are concerned about your plan.
  • Ignore pressure tactics or threats to take away your benefits. If you qualify for Medicare benefits, you won’t lose them just because you fail to sign up for a plan.
  • Monitor your benefit statements. Look for anything Medicare paid for that seems incorrect or suspicious, such as supplies you didn’t receive, services you didn’t request or double charges.
  • Say no to gifts. By law, agents are prohibited from offering you meals or other gifts in exchange for signing up for a Medicare plan.
  • Refuse offers of freebies “paid for by Medicare.” Scammers sometimes offer free medical equipment (such as a knee brace) as a way to get your Medicare information. You may receive a low-quality device or nothing at all, but the scammers then have what they need to steal your identity.
  • If you suspect a Medicare scam, call 1-800-MEDICARE to report it right away.


Blog Sources:

Protecting Yourself & Medicare from Fraud : Medicare.gov

Marketing Rules for Health Plans: Medicare.gov

Stay away from scams this Medicare Open Enrollment Period: FTC

Medicare Card Scams: AARP

Joining a Plan: Medicare.gov

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