Each year during the fall, Medicare’s open enrollment period, also known as the Annual Election Period (AEP), gives you and other Medicare beneficiaries the chance to evaluate your current Medicare coverage, compare Original Medicare, Medigap, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans and choose or update coverage based on your needs. We also want to remind you to be careful when it comes to Medicare scams. While it may not be the most fun topic to talk about, it is definitely important!
First and foremost, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) stresses that you should always guard your Medicare number and medical information. Only give your Medicare number to your doctor or provider, and the same goes for your medical records. One exception would be during enrollment, where you might reach out to a plan to enroll over the phone, or with the help of an agent or broker. If this is the case, either the plan representative or the agent or broker will ask you for your Medicare ID number for submission.
Second, don’t stress too much! The ApexHealth team just wants to remind you to stay vigilant, aware and informed.
Be aware of these common Medicare scams
1. Someone coming to your home claiming to be from Medicare to sell you a product or a free service.
Remember that Medicare does not send people to your home for this reason. Any Medicare-approved services are scheduled and agreed to in advance. Do not give them any personal information. Better yet, do not answer the door.
2. Someone calling claiming to be from Medicare without you requesting a call first.
Always remember Medicare will not call you unsolicited. If they need to get in touch with you, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will send you an official letter first. If you are suspicious of a caller, ask them for their direct number so that you can call them back, or you can always hang up the phone. Just remember not to give away any personal information. Common things a scammer will call about include:
- Offers for free services or medical supplies
- Claims that Medicare owes you a refund
- Activation or renewal of your Medicare card
- Threats to cancel your Medicare coverage unless you update your information
3. Someone calling claiming to be from Medicare asking you for important identifying information and/or a credit card number or banking information.
A Medicare representative will never ask you for banking information or your credit card number. Scammers want to get as much personal information from you as possible including your Medicare number and your Social Security number. Do not give this personal information over the phone.
Remember these facts to avoid being a victim of a Medicare scam
We understand that there’s a lot to digest here, but keep these facts in mind:
- Medicare will never call you, unless you have called 1-800-MEDICARE and requested a return phone call.
- Medicare will never call your home or come to your home to sell you products or services.
- If the SSA needs to call you to get more information to process your application for benefits, they will send you an official letter first to arrange a phone call. They will not call you unsolicited.
- Medicare cards do not expire, so be aware of someone contacts you saying they need to send you a new one and to return your old one.
- Call the SSA directly if your Medicare card is lost or destroyed. Here is the link to help you get a replacement Medicare card.
How do you report Medicare scams?
If you suspect a Medicare scam, call CMS at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048. Also, remember ApexHealth is always here to help. Give us a call at (844) 279-0508 (TTY: 711) to speak with a licensed representative or an ApexAssistant. Our hours of operation are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. (local time) from Apr. 1 through Sept. 30 and seven days a week 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. (local time) from Oct. 1 through Mar. 31.