Scammers Target Medicare Participants During Open Enrollment. Here’s How to Avoid Being a Victim

Medicare enrollees aren’t stuck with the same coverage for life. Rather, each year, current enrollees have an opportunity to make plan changes during Medicare’s fall open enrollment period, which begins on October 15 and wraps up on December 7.

During Medicare open enrollment, you can look into moving from one Part D drug plan to another, switching from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, or swapping Advantage for original Medicare and vice versa. It’s a great opportunity to get rid of a plan that’s gotten costly or to sign up for a better that offers coverage at a lower price point.

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But scammers tend to target Medicare participants during open enrollment. And it’s important to recognize what scams look like to avoid becoming a victim.

Don’t get taken advantage of

Just as scammers commonly target seniors on Social Security, so too do they often go after Medicare enrollees. And those scams can take on different forms.

You may, for example, get a call from someone claiming to represent Medicare who can sign you up for a new plan that might save you thousands of dollars in healthcare costs. But Medicare does not, as a matter of course, assign agents the task of contacting seniors to help them save money on their coverage. So if you get a call along those lines out of the blue, be suspicious.

More importantly, do not give out any personal financial details, like your Social Security number, your bank account number, or your credit card details. All of this is information scammers can use to steal your money and/or identity.

Now to be clear, there are legitimate agents out there who promote and sell real Medicare plans. But in that case, they should identify themselves as agents of the firms or plans they represent — they should not purport to be Medicare representatives.

You might also get a call during open enrollment where you’re told you’re entitled to a refund for Medicare costs you paid during the year — only to get that refund, you need to provide your Social Security number, Medicare ID number, and bank account details. To be clear, Medicare will never call you asking for this information — so don’t give it out.

Finally, you might get a call from someone claiming to be a representative of your Part D or Medicare Advantage plan letting you know that your coverage will come to an end immediately if you don’t renew it. That person might then ask for the aforementioned financial information.

Don’t buy into any call along these lines. If you’re current on your Part D or Advantage premiums, your coverage can’t be pulled. The same holds true for original Medicare.

Proceed with caution

It’s an unfortunate fact that seniors are often targeted by scammers. Now that you know what to look out for during open enrollment, you can avoid falling victim to a Medicare scam and instead use that time to set yourself up with the right coverage for 2023.

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