The Louisiana Department of Insurance Senior Health Insurance Information Program is again advising senior citizens to be on the lookout for potential scam during the Medicare open enroll 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 citizens.
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.
Over 41,000 consumer-marketing complaints were received last year, an increase from 2020.
“We’re in the midst of Medicare Open Enrollment and a lot of people are getting bombarded with phone calls, TV commercials, emails and mail,” said SHIIP Director Vicki Dufrene. “If you are overwhelmed and confused, do not hesitate to call our office at 1-800-259-5300. We want to make sure everyone who is eligible for Medicare can get access to the care they need and be informed about their health care coverage options.”
It is possible for citizens to protect themselves from scam.
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. You can contact the LDI by calling 1-800-259-5300 or visiting www.ldi.la.gov.