If you are a Medicare Beneficiary, there is a good chance you have had at least one suspicious phone call, email, or piece of mail. Medicare beneficiaries are targeted by identity thieves and scammers all year long, especially during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) from October 15 to December 7 and the Open Enrollment Period from January 1 to March 31. It is important to familiarize yourself with the most common Medicare scams to help protect yourself from these attacks.
Facts about Medicare and the Social Security Administration (SSA)
- Medicare will never call you unless you initiated the request for them to call.
- Medicare will never come to your home to sell products or services.
- In rare circumstances, SSA may call you to if they need more information to process applications for Social Security Benefits or Medicare.
- If a phone call from SSA is needed, you will receive an official letter to arrange a phone interview.
Common Medicare Scams
- Calls, emails, or physical mail threatening to cancel your coverage unless information is updated or attempts to “verify your identity.”
- Calls, emails, or physical mail offering “free” benefits or medical supplies.
- Fraudulent mailings, especially during the Annual Enrollment Period.
- Receiving medical bills from unknows hospitals, doctors, or medical suppliers.
How to Protect yourself
- Never give someone your Medicare number, banking numbers, or any other private information unless it is your doctor, insurers acting on your behalf, or trusted people in the community who work with Medicare.
- Be wary of clicking unknown links in emails you may receive.
- Keep track of exact dates you received health care services to compare against any bills you may receive. If you are unsure of any bills you have received, contact the billing department of your doctor or insurance provider and ask if it is a valid charge.
- If your Medicare card is lost or damaged, contact SSA to request a new one.
- If you suspect fraudulent activity on your Medicare card, call Medicare directly.
- Be aware that individuals representing Medicare plans are subject to strict rules on how they can contact you. If you are not already a member of a plan, you should not be receiving calls from an agent of that plan.
- Contact your Medicare insurance agent at VibrantUSA to verify the validity of a call, email, or mailing before giving out information.
The best way to protect yourself against scammers is by taking a step back before taking action. Do not let scare tactics force you into a panic. Using a local and independent insurance agency, like VibrantUSA, will give you piece of mind that you are working with someone who is protecting your best interest and privacy.