Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplements, and Prescription Drug plans are offered by private insurance companies like United Healthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Humana, Wellcare, etc.
These private insurance companies have a contract with the Federal Government to offer these plans in the marketplace and are subject to compliance and regulation under HHS (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) and CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid).
These agencies, including Social Security, will not just show up at your home. Medicare prohibits anyone coming to your home uninvited to sell any kind of Medicare insurance. Medicare also prohibits these private insurance companies and their agents (and/or agencies) from cold-calling you on the phone.
If you agree, invite, or fill out an online reply card and request a call or at-home visit then you have requested to be contacted, which IS allowed.
Medicare says that no one can charge a fee to enroll you in a Medicare plan, which is an illegal charge.
Never give out your Social Security or Medicare ID number even if someone calls and says they from the Federal government and they need to check your Social Security or Medicare number. This someone may say, if you don’t provide this information then you will lose your Medicare coverage.
DON’T fall for this! The government has your number on file and you can’t lose your Medicare benefits by refusing to give out your number.
If anyone calls and says or claims to be from Social Security or Medicare and states you have a refund coming and asks for your banking information in order to pay out your refund directly to your account. DON’T fall for this!
If someone claims that you can no longer pay cash at the pharmacy counter and they need your credit card or debit card on file. DON’T fall for this!
You can pay for your prescriptions in many ways: cash, credit, debit, etc.
By the way, Medicare is NOT going out of business. Medicare plans are not being discontinued. DON’T fall for this!
IF one of these situations does happen to you, there is a way to report these scams.
- First, hang up the phone, shut the door, or just keep walking.
- Second, report the scam to the Attorney General Office or the Insurance Commissioner or Medicare.
- Medicare can be contacted at 800-633-4227.
- Inspector General of the US Department of the US Department of Health and Human Services 800-447-8477
- The Federal Trade Commission provides guidance on dealing with identity theft: www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/privacy-identity or call the help line at 877-382-4357.
Be aware, Be informed, Be safe!