The following article – “’Tis the Season for Open Enrollment Scams,” by Gretchen Abraham – is published on the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information blog. With many businesses now entering, or already in the midst of, open enrollment, the information it contains is timely and salient.
Winter is coming, which means open enrollment season is here. With 2020 just around the corner, now’s the time to add or change your health coverage through Medicare or the Affordable Care Act (ACA). You have until December 7 (Medicare) or December 15 (ACA) to make any changes. As you compare your options, watch out for scams. Here are some tips to protect your wallet and your personal information this open enrollment season.
Eligible for Medicare?
- Anyone who tries to sell you Medicare insurance while claiming to be an “official Medicare agent” is a scammer. There are no Medicare sales representatives.
- Ignore anyone who says you must join a prescription drug plan to keep your Medicare coverage. The Medicare prescription drug plan (also known as Part D) is voluntary and has nothing to do with the rest of your Medicare coverage.
- Never give information over the phone to someone who says they need it so you can keep your coverage. Hang up on anyone who asks for a quick payment, threatens you, or offers you free equipment or services in exchange for your information.
- If you need help with Medicare, call 1-800-MEDICARE or go to Medicare.gov.
Looking for coverage under the Affordable Care Act?
- Get information, compare plans, and enroll at HealthCare.gov. Check out the new Quality Ratings to see how plans compare to others in your state, based on member experience, medical care, and health plan administration.
- Starting this year, you can also sign up for a plan directly through several certified partners. Make sure the company is on the approved list before giving them your information.
- Need help? Call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 to ask a question, start or finish an application, compare plans, or enroll. Prefer to meet in person? Use the local assistance tool to find a list of people and organizations in your community who can help you – for free.
- After you apply, you may get a call from the Marketplace asking you to verify or provide information. If you don't want to answer questions over the phone, ask the representative to mail you a letter with instructions for completing your application.
If you spot a scam, report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. If the scam is Medicare related, report it at 1-800-MEDICARE. The more we hear from you, the more we can help fight scams.