Dear Clients and friends,
SCAMS, FRAUDS AND JUST PLAIN MISINFORMATION….it’s everywhere and seems to be a constant source of confusion to all Medicare recipients. The good news is that we are 65 (me included) and the bad news is that we are 65. We now have a target on our backs for all kinds of marketing schemes. Some are legal and some are not. Obviously, there is no way that we can identify all the different ways that seniors are being approached but I can give you a few RED FLAGS to look for. We want to help, but that can only happen if you let us know what is going on.
PLEASE DON’T HESITATE TO CALL US IF YOU ARE CONFUSED OR APPROACHED AND NOT SURE IF IT IS A LEGITIMATE CALL or MAILING PIECE. Even legitimate sales calls can be very confusing and sound better than they are. We are seeing and hearing more schemes all the time, legal or not. I would suggest that you never commit to a change in plans over just a single phone call. Get a number and call them back to be sure they are who they say they are.
If you call us and we think the “offer” is legit and better for you, we will certainly bless that change.
# 1 rule, Medicare will not call you on the phone, unless you have called them first and they are returning your call. So, if someone calls and promises better things and tells you that all you need to do, is verify some personal information with them, HANG UP!
Other Red Flags through the mail or even door-to-door contacts:
- Counterfeit sales materials offering discounted prescription drug plans or supplemental coverage or bills from an unknown provider.
- Door to door scams where they claim they are from Medicare…..MEDICARE DOES NOT MAKE HOUSE CALLS EITHER!
- Medical equipment scams- Calls, mailings, or TV ads promising you free or low-cost things like knee braces if you give them your Medicare number. They’ve used your information to bill Medicare fraudulently and you get subpar braces or wraps while they bill Medicare for thousands of dollars.
- Free or low cost genetic testing. They offer you a free or discounted DNA test by offering a cheek swab but they are only after one thing, and that is your Medicare information!
- Medicare Advantage plans are all over the place advertising their plans. There are many good ones but they are very specific to each area they are being sold. It’s an HMO style plan run by a private insurer so you would no longer be covered by Medicare. Once you sign up with the company, you have one year to decide you don’t like it and change to a Standard plan. Once a year has passed, then you can only go back to Medicare if you qualify medically. The same rules apply if you transferred to a Medicare Advantage plan from a standard supplement plan. Timing is very important if you decide you want off the Advantage plan. There is a lot to this so it’s best just to call and we can help you understand how they work and if it’s better for you.
And the list goes on.
Again, it our goal just to make sure you are on the alert for all those “amazing opportunities” that may or may not be amazing!
Sandy Henderson, RHU
Plan Financial, V.P. Insurance