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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.

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11 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

Marianne Mangan
November 13, 2019
They seem to call like robo callers. We have so many calling I wish we could stop the calls.
Honor
November 14, 2019

In reply to by Marianne Mangan

I don't answer the landline or cell phone if the number is unrecognized and also throw out any dubious postal ads. They'll eventually stop when ignored.
Shred Those Ads
November 16, 2019

In reply to by Honor

Hi, that's good information, however when you throw ads or pre-approved credit cards, loans or sensitive ads should be shredded and not just thrown away as someone might steal them and send them in posing as you.
sky song
November 13, 2019
Excellent presentation of important information.
Mepolygranny
November 13, 2019
Received a recorded message saying, "This is the Social Security Administration..." and right away I hung up. The number has a unassigned area code 511-257-4075. I attempted to return the call but it has a recording from Verizon "We are unable to complete your call". Go figure. Another scam.
Mike Esser
November 13, 2019
Thank you, that is very valuable information. I would recommend that you scan TV ads from companies and advisors who offer help in signing up for Medicare. Many of them do not exactly give false information but the way they phrase their offerings is often misleading, making you for example believe that if you do not sign up with them, you might lose your coverage.
MaryAnn
November 13, 2019
Fakes and maybe real Medicare advantage companies need to update their lists. My late husband would of turned 65 on Christmas day. I have been getting a dozen mailings weekly since June 1, plus more robo calls than I can count. He died spring of 2017!!! He doesn't need medical insurance. Do not call is a joke. He did NOT sign up for insurance from the grave. I did NOT sign up for anything, let alone to be harassed a dozen times a day.
DEB FW
November 13, 2019
Whitestone Health (not Healthcare) robo calls on a new spoofed number as soon as I can block one
Munch
November 14, 2019
I don't answer calls from numbers I don't recognize, and they never leave messages unless it's a robo-call.
inga
November 15, 2019

In reply to by Munch

With so much information. and so many warnings , why oh why does anyone still fall for any kind of scam? What they told you when you were growing up is still good advice: Don't talk to strangers, don't tell a stranger your name or where you live. Don't take candy from a stranger.
Chris
November 16, 2019
Be sure to report robo calls to the DoNotCall complaint site. You won't get a response but if you do nothing, the FTC can't do anything about them either. And WRITE to your local and Fed representatives, they are really dragging their feet on this one.