Enrolling in Medicare can be complicated enough. Unfortunately, scammers and unethical brokers sometimes make the process even more difficult. Watch out for these common signs of a Medicare scam, not just during enrollment season but all year long.
“Medicare representatives.” Medicare does not employ representatives who will reach out to you, attempting to sell you a plan. Yes, plans called Medicare Advantage are available through private insurance companies, but you will learn about those through a licensed insurance broker.
Fear-based tactics. No, you never have to enroll in, or purchase, any type of plan to “avoid losing your benefits.” This is a common tactic used to incite fear and prompt you to act quickly without examining the seller. If you don’t choose a new plan during the enrollment season, you will simply be re-enrolled into your current plan. And you never have to enroll in a Part D (prescription) plan to avoid losing other benefits.
Fake refund offers. Medicare will never contact you to inquire about your Medicare ID number, birthdate, bank account number, or other sensitive information. This is especially true with “refund” or “rebate” offers. If you overpay for some reason, your plan administrator would contact you by mail.
“Extra benefits.” Anyone who contacts you, offering tempting “extra benefits” could be a scam artist. Always check for a broker’s license number before discussing your Medicare plan with them but be aware that unethical licensed brokers do exist as well. Never provide your Medicare ID number over the phone. This is often a trick used to enroll you in a different plan without your being aware.
Licensed insurance brokers are subject to strict federal regulations regarding how it can advertise and communicate about Medicare plans. Always work with a trusted broker, ask for a license number, and be on guard against predatory or suspicious sales language.