Health insurance open enrollment scams
The deadline’s Dec. 15. You’re uncertain. You’re stressed…and scammers can smell it.
That’s when your phone rings.
The caller claims to represent Medicare. He tells you it’s time to re-up for next year. All he needs is your Medicare number and credit card number to re-enroll you.
Wait a minute, Mr. Fast-Talker. If you’re Medicare, why don’t you already have my Medicare number? I mean, Medicare’s who issued me the number in the first place, right? Better yet, why would Medicare be initiating a phone call with me in the first place?
It won’t. Not now. Not ever.
That’s one of the first signs of a health insurance open enrollment scam: an unsolicited call from a Medicare or private insurer impostor, ‘phishing’ for your personal information. Steve Hutton sees the signs all of the time. As president of Hutton Insurance Solutions, your #WiseChoice medical insurance brokerage for group employee benefits, Hutton warned consumers to never deal with the nameless, faceless voice or words of an unsolicited phone call, text or email.
“If you’re a Medicare recipient, you should always initiate your own contact directly with Medicare’s customer service number,” Hutton said. “Medicare will never contact you for your policy number or credit card number. That kind of solicitation will always be a scam, each and every time.
“As far as private insurance, it’s important to use an insurance company that has an office you can visit, an agent whose hand you can shake if you need assurance — and a company that is locally managed by people who can be vetted for integrity and honesty.”
AARP managed to intercept the scripts of the five most common Medicare open enrollment scams. Read them here.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) broke down how to spot an open enrollment scam based on your health policy category.
For consumers eligible for Medicare:
- Anyone that tries to sell you Medicare insurance while claiming to be an “official Medicare agent” is a scammer. There are no Medicare sales representatives.
- The Medicare prescription drug plan (also known as Part D) is voluntary. Ignore anyone who calls saying you must join their prescription plan or you will lose your Medicare coverage.
- Do not give any information over the phone to someone who tells you that you must provide information to keep your coverage.
- If you need help with Medicare, call 1-800-MEDICARE or go to Medicare.gov.
For consumers seeking coverage under the Affordable Care Act:
- Only shop for coverage at HealthCare.gov. People who try to sign you up elsewhere may be scammers.
- Need free assistance? There are people and groups in your community who can help you find coverage and enroll in a plan — and it’s free! To make sure they are legitimate, use the local help resource at HealthCare.gov
For consumers buying private insurance:
- Make sure insurance is what you’re really getting. There are many medical discount plans that pretend to be insurance, but they are not. Your state insurance commissioner’s office can tell you if a plan is insurance or not and whether the seller is licensed in your state.
If you’re an employer seeking a more competitive health plan for your employees, Hutton Insurance Solutions offers a supplemental policy that reduces and could even eliminate your employees’ out-of-pocket costs with no limitations, exclusions or pre-existing condition exceptions. Go to HuttonInsuranceSolutions.com, call 662-225-6929 or visit Hutton Insurance Solutions’s #WiseChoices credentials page here.
Copyright 2018 Wise Choices TM. All rights reserved.
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