During the Annual Open Enrollment, there is a higher risk than usual for fraudulent activities. Medicare has rules about how plans can and cannot communicate with you during the Annual Open Enrollment to market their insurance products. Knowing how to protect yourself from, detect, and report marketing violations and enrollment fraud will help save both you and Medicare money. Plans are allowed to send you emails and/or direct mailings but are not allowed to call you or visit you in person to market their products without your permission. Plans who send emails must provide an opt-out option for people who no longer wish to receive them.
Watch out for people who:
- Pressure you to join their plan
- Tell you they represent Medicare and want to offer you a service for free
- Call you or visit your house without your permission to offer services or equipment
- Offer free consultations only to people with Medicare and ask for your Medicare number
- Inform you that you will lose your Medicare benefits unless you sign up for a certain plan
Before you enroll in a plan, make sure you understand what the plan covers, how it affects your Medicare benefits and other health benefits (like Medicaid or your retiree/union coverage), and whether it covers the drugs you need. Contact a plan directly to confirm if it will cover certain services for you, and make sure that you get everything in writing. An agent or broker should never pressure you to join a plan. If you feel an insurance agent has violated Medicare’s marketing rules, you should save all documents (such as an agent’s business card or marketing materials) or other suspicious information, such as recorded messages, and contact your local Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP). Your SMP can help you identify and report marketing violations, as well as other forms of Medicare fraud and abuse. To contact your SMP, visit www.smpresource.org or call 877-808-2468.
Read Next: Can I Purchase a Medigap Policy to Help With Cost-Sharing Gaps if I Switch to Original Medicare During the Annual Enrollment Period?
Find Out: Who Is Eligible to Purchase Medigap Plan C or Plan F?
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