Unfortunately, Medicare Part D is not immune to fraudulent activity. Scammers may use the opportunity to take advantage of seniors who are making important decisions about these prescription drug plans. Here are some ways to help protect you and your money from fraudulent schemes. Here are some ways to help protect you and your money from fraudulent schemes.
Personal information is sacred. Do not give out your personal information until you are certain that the person you are working with is from Medicare or a private insurance company participating in the Medicare program. Your Medicare number is just as important as your Social Security number. Be sure to protect it along with the rest of your personal information.
Beware of the Telephone. There is no way to enroll in a drug plan over the telephone… unless you call the company. Do not give out your information to a solicitor. Also, payments cannot be made over the telephone. The plan you choose must send you a bill if you do enroll via telephone or web. Sales associates of Medicare Part D cannot call after 9 p.m. or before 8 a.m. by federal law.
Enrollment into Medicare Part D is Free. Though you will have to pay premiums and deductibles, no one should charge you for assistance in filling out the forms. Make sure you know where your money is going.
Rx Marks the Spot. Medicare Prescription Drug Plans will have the "Medicare approved" stamp on each piece of material they send you. Any mail you receive regarding Part D without the seal is not approved by Medicare.
Stay Current. Save any letters you receive from your former employers and insurance plan about your current prescription drug coverage. Keep a folder with any information you receive that may pertain to prescription drug coverage.
Kn ow who you can Trust. Family members and friends are important in this process. Sometimes it can help to talk it over when something about a plan is not clear. Area senior centers and local organizations working through Medicare and your physician are also available for consultation. For further clarification, call 1-800-Medicare or visit www.medicare.gov for support.
Enroll on time. The annual enrollment period will run from October 15 through December 7. For information about initial enrollment and special enrollment periods, go to www.medicare.gov/
Insurance Fraud happens. There have been - and always will be - people who attempt to take advantage of seniors. Regulators can't always stop it from happening, but, if we receive information that illegal activity is occurring in the insurance industry, we will investigate. It is important to remember, that even if we do investigate the case, you may not get back the money you lost.
Buyers beware. There are some plans in the system that look good but have hidden costs and potential problems. For example, some plans with low monthly premiums require you to make a payment every time you see your medical provider. Some of these plans are complicated and often not the best choice for those who need medical and prescription coverage. Be sure to ask your agent or doctor about the specifics of the lower cost plans before committing to one. Some doctors will not accept these plans.
For More Information Regarding Part D Contact the Minnesota Senior Linkage Line. They provide free health insurance counseling to people with Medicare. They can be reached at 1-800-333-2433.
To Report Fraudulent Activity:
1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048), or
The Fraud Hotline of the Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-447-8477, or
The Federal Trade Commissions ID Theft hotline at 1-877-438-4338
(TTY users call 1-866-653-4261)
For suspected fraudulent activity of insurance agents, contact the Minnesota Department of Commerce Consumer Response Team at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602.
Both State and Federal Government agencies are working hard to crack down on fraudulent companies and individuals. Please report any suspicious sales activities or phone conversations as soon as you learn about them. This helps keep the approved Medicare plans separate from those not approved.