LDI Urges Senior Citizens to Be Vigilant Against Medicare Scams During Open Enrollment
The Louisiana Department of Insurance Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) urges senior citizens to be alert for potential scams and high-pressure sales tactics during Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period.
The Open Enrollment Period, which ends December 7, allows beneficiaries to make changes to their plans. Unfortunately, it is also a time when scammers ramp up their efforts to defraud unsuspecting seniors.
“Medicare Open enrollment is a time for seniors to make important decisions about their health coverage,” said SHIIP Director Vicki Dufrene. “It’s also a time when people get overwhelmed with phone calls, TV commercials, emails and mail.”
Sometimes scammers try to defraud victims by booking Medicare beneficiaries into new plans. Because insurance agents are not allowed to make cold calls to solicit business, agents sometimes engage outside marketers to call Medicare beneficiaries with promises to enroll them into “better” plans.
However, these calls often have nothing to do with placing someone into an improved plan and often result in the Medicare beneficiary moving to a worse plan for their needs. SHIIP urges Medicare beneficiaries to ignore unsolicited calls offering to help them switch to a different Medicare plan and other potential scams.
According to the National Council on Aging, Medicare and Medicaid fraud costs taxpayers over $100 billion each year.
“It’s easy to get confused about all the ins and outs of Medicare, and we want to make sure everyone who is eligible for Medicare can get access to the care they need and make informed decisions about their health care coverage options,” said Dufrene. “If you have questions or concerns, call us at 1-800-259-5300.”
Seniors can also protect themselves from scams by following the advice below:
- Do not engage with unsolicited callers who want to talk with you about Medicare.
- Do not give unsolicited callers your name, your Medicare identification number or Social Security Number. Scammers could use this information to make changes to your plan without your knowledge.
- If you do get an unsolicited call about Medicare, ask the caller for their name and license number, then call Medicare or SHIIP to report what you experienced.
- If you discover that your plan has been switched without your knowledge, call SHIIP so that we can ask Medicare to change it back.
- If you have questions about Medicare, call a trusted partner like SHIIP or the Senior Medicare Patrol.
If you have questions or are concerned you or a loved one may have been a victim of a scam, you can contact SHIIP at 1-800-259-5300 or the Senior Medicare Patrol at 877-272-8720, or visit www.stopmedicarefraud.org.
About the Louisiana Department of Insurance: The Louisiana Department of Insurance works to improve competition in the state’s insurance market while assisting individuals and businesses with the information and resources they need to be informed consumers of insurance. As a regulator, the LDI enforces the laws that provide a fair and stable marketplace and makes certain that insurers comply with the laws in place to protect policyholders. You can contact the LDI by calling 1-800-259-5300 or visiting www.ldi.la.gov.