I have been getting a lot of suspicious calls from people I don’t know trying to sell me Medicare plans. How do I protect myself from marketing violations?
-Elaine (Reno, NV)
During Fall Open Enrollment, you will likely experience more marketing from private Medicare plans, like Medicare Advantage Plans and Part D plans. Companies try to reach consumers in various ways, like television commercials, radio ads, events, mailings, phone calls, and texts. There are rules, though, to protect you from forceful or misleading marketing. Knowing red flags and strategies to protect yourself can help you make the best choices for your coverage during Fall Open Enrollment.
Most importantly, protect your private information. This includes information like your Medicare number, Social Security number, and billing information. People can use this information to enroll you in a plan you don’t want. You should only give this information to people you really trust, like your doctor so that they can bill Medicare or your plan, or a trusted broker you are working with to enroll in a new plan.
Next, notice how you feel when speaking to someone about your Medicare. For example:
- No one should make you feel pressured or rushed to enroll in a plan.
- No one should make you feel that you could lose your Medicare benefits if you don’t enroll in a plan.
- No one should ask for your Medicare or Social Security numbers just to provide you with information.
- Be wary of cold calls from people asking for any information about yourself.
Remember that you should take your time making enrollment decisions. If you feel uncertain or at all rushed, you can tell a plan representative that you need time to consider your options. If you are interested later, you can call them back.
When feeling unsure of who you can trust, rely on government websites, phone numbers, and offices for information.
If you believe you have experienced aggressive marketing or violations, you can report it to your Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) or State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Find your local SMP at www.smpresource.org or call 877-808-2468. Find your local SHIP at www.shiphelp.org or call 877-839-2675.
I hope this helps!