ND SMP Scam of the Month – November 2017

 

Watch out for Cons during Open Enrollment


It’s as easy as A, B, C, and D until you toss the word “Medicare” in and then it becomes the “Alphabet Soup of Medicare!” The Medicare open enrollment period begins October 15 and continues through December 7. This is the time for seniors to make changes to their current coverage. Each year, if you are in a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, you are eligible to change your enrollment into another Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare D plan during the open enrollment period; changes take effect January 1, 2018.

 

It’s important for people to review their part D policies every year. What was good last year may not be a good plan for the next year. Medical and prescription situations may have changed and a particular drug may have gone up to a different tier, which means a higher out-of-pocket expense for the beneficiary. When in doubt, consider getting enrollment help from an unbiased counsellor to lessen the chances of being misled into signing up for the wrong plan.

 

The open enrollment period is also “open season” for fraudsters and some “not so moral” insurance brokers to take advantage of individuals looking to update plans. Medicare enrollment can be very confusing and beneficiaries may face pressure from insurance agents, marketing companies and scammers.

 

Watch for fraudsters hoping to skim money that the elderly and disabled will be paying out for health care needs. Some of the most common scams occur when people give out personal information over the phone. People don’t think they’re going to fall victim to scams, but then you get a call out of the blue and the caller says, “Its Medicare” calling. Medicare officials will rarely call Medicare beneficiaries, and if they do, they won’t ask for personal information like your Social Security number or financial information.

 

If you need help with plan enrollment, contact the ND State Health Insurance Counseling Program (SHIC) at 1-888-575-6611 to schedule an appointment or to locate a SHIC program sponsor nearest you. This is a free service. Contact ND SMP with concerns about Medicare and healthcare fraud or scams.

 

The information provided is intended to be a general summary only. Source of information: Fite, E. (2017, October 15). Don’t Get Duped during Medicare Enrollment. Time Free Press.

 

What can you do?

 

Keep your personal numbers (Medicare, Social Security, and bank account numbers) PERSONAL.

 

Call the ND SMP office if you have questions about Medicare fraud or you think you may have given out your number to an MSN or EOB to their bill. It has come to our attention that there may be some offices imposter.

 

The National Do Not Call Registry allows you to register your home or cell phone for free. Your registration will be effective for five years. Telemarketers should not call your number once it has been on the registry for 31 days. If they do, you can file a complaint at https://www.donotcall.gov/

 

The information provided is intended to be a general summary only. Source of information: AARP/Medicare Open Enrollment Scams 2014.

 

What to do if you responded to one of these marketing ploys?

 

  •       Contact the ND Attorney General Consumer Protection offie at 1-800-472-2600.
  •       Call the ND SMP Office if you have questions about Medicare fraud.

 

Here’s what to do if you get a suspicious call:

  •      • Don’t give out any personal information.
  •      • Simply hang up the phone—or better yet, if you don’t recognize the telephone number, don’t answer it at all.
  •      • Report the call to the ND Attorney General Consumer Protection office at 1-800-472-2600.
  •      • Report your experience to 1-877-FTC-HELP or ftc.gov/complaint.
    •           - Click on “Scams and Rip-offs” and then “Imposter Scams”.
  •      • Call the ND SMP office if you have questions about Medicare fraud or you think you may have given out your number to an imposter.

 

Scammers are very creative people, possibly secondary only to computer hackers! What can
you do to prevent being a victim of health care fraud?

 

What can you do to protect yourself from fraud?
 Keep your personal and financial information private.

 Keep your personal numbers (Medicare, Social Security, and bank account numbers) PERSONAL.
 Contact the ND Attorney General Consumer Protection office at 1-800-472-2600.
 Call the ND SMP office if you have questions about Medicare fraud.

 

Fall 2017 Part D Open Enrollment Dates
(Contact ND SHIC at 1-888-575-6611 for more information)

  • • Grand Forks Tuesday, October 17 Canad Inn
  • • Fargo Wednesday, October 18 Country Inns & Suites
  • • Valley City Thursday, October 19 Senior Center
  • • Dickinson Tuesday, October 24 DSU Biesiot Activities Center
  • • Minot Thursday, October 26 Sleep Inn &Suites
  • • Bismarck Tuesday, October 31 Kelly Inn
  • • Jamestown Thursday, November 2 Gladstone Inn

 


The information provided is intended to be a general summary only. Source of information: CMS Webinar: New Medicare Card, September 18, 2017 https://www.cms.gov/newcard

 

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To report a potential scam or if you have been the victim of a scam, call the ND Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP). ND SMP is a free service which provides one-on-one assistance with Medicare fraud and scams. Call 1-800-233-1737 for assistance or go to www.ndcpd.org/smp.