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During Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period (OEP), which begins on October 15 and ends December 7, Medicare beneficiaries can choose the plans that are best for them for 2022. You can get help comparing Medicare plans from your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), available in each U.S. state, territory, and the District of Columbia. Private insurance companies administer, market, and sell Medicare Advantage (MA, Part C) and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D), so it’s important to understand your rights and some of the limits on marketing. That way you’ll be prepared if an insurance broker or agent tries to enroll you in a Medicare plan that isn’t right for you.

Know your rights

If you request an appointment with an agent to visit or call to talk about your Medicare coverage options, remember you have certain rights and agents must follow the law: 

  • Agents must give you information only about items listed in the scope of appointment form you filled out when you asked for an appointment. They can’t talk about other Medicare or insurance products that you didn’t ask to talk about.
  • Agents can’t set their own time limits for you to sign up for a plan. Everyone has until December 7 to enroll, and there aren’t any extra benefits for signing up early.
  • They can’t threaten to take away your benefits if you don’t sign up for a plan or offer you gifts if you agree to sign up.
  • Agents cannot suggest that Medicare endorses or prefers their plan.

After you pick the plan that’s right for you, be sure you get all the details in writing before you sign up. Take your time to read all information and verify details. For example, before you sign up, reach out to your doctors to ensure they are in that plan’s network.

Report a marketing violation

There are limits on how companies and agents selling Medicare plans can contact you and what they can say. For example:

  • You should never get a phone call from a company you don’t have a relationship with.
  • A company must not represent itself as Medicare, Social Security, or Medicaid.
  • You shouldn’t get information — like leaflets, flyers, door hangers, etc. — on your car or at home from a company you don’t have an appointment with.
  • An agent can’t come back to your home without an invitation.
  • They can’t mislead you about coverage for prescriptions or services. Always review your Explanation of Benefits (EOB) to be sure your coverage matches what was promised.
  • They can’t promise that you can keep your Medigap plan (supplemental plan) when you sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan. The truth is, you can’t have both a Medigap plan and a Medicare Advantage plan.

If you notice one of these marketing violations, please tell your local Senior Medicare Patrol.

 Protect your medical information

Scammers might call and pretend to be Medicare representatives or agents in an attempt to steal your Medicare number or other personal information. They can use a fake CallerID name to impersonate Medicare or another organization you know. Don’t trust the name displayed on your phone’s CallerID screen. If anyone calls and asks for your Medicare, Social Security, or bank or credit card information, hang up. A scammer can use your personal information to file false claims, sign you up for a plan to which you didn’t agree, or even steal your identity.

 For more information and help reporting Medicare fraud, errors, or abuse, visit or call 1-877-808-2468. To report an impersonator who pretended to be from Medicare, call 1-800-MEDICARE and visit If you think someone misused your personal or financial information, report it at and get started on a recovery plan.

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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

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Kg65Don't use …
October 16, 2021
Wish these things were true because I get multiple calls a day from both marketers and robocalls trying to push medicare products on me and I have been on Medicare for years. they call early as much as 7:30 am. I get anywhere from four to five calls a day and there is no way to stop them and as far as mail my mailbox has something about medicare every single day and I get unsolicited E-mails. SS says they can't do these things but show no way to stop them and it is getting out of hand I will be glad whn the enrollment period ends then maybe they will lighten up on the contacts.
NormaDon't use…
October 20, 2021

In reply to by Kg65Don't use …

The calls one gets in a day is frustrating to say the least, I have blocked as many as I am allowed, so when I see Potential Scam I don't answer, but the church's number comes up as a Potential Scam so I know the number and answer. The people use the exchange in your area, when you don't answer and try to call back the number is not in operation. It is nerve wracking when you are in one room and the telephone is in another, my cell phone I don't answer any calls that come across for I don't give this number out so therefore no one but family has it.
October 16, 2021
" Take your time to read all information and verify details." Yeah, sure. Have you seen the hundreds of pages of legalize one would have to read and understand? Few seniors are going to be able to digest all that information. Beyond that, every year they scare you into having to pick a plan (* without mentioning that you can do nothing and stay in your existing plan *). Every year it's a big scare. And again, picking a plan requires expert knowledge of the plans and of your situation.
FTC Staff
October 26, 2021

In reply to by Max

You can get help comparing Medicare plans from your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). There are SHIPs in each U.S. state, territory, and the District of Columbia.

October 18, 2021
Once again they are out in full force calling about Medicare/gap insurance . I talked to Brian at FAQ and told him take me off the list. I requested if I am interested will call him otherwise take me off the list. Do not call me!!!
October 22, 2021
I am 77 years old and if I wanted to change my Medicare plan I still have enough sence to do it on my own with out a bunch of telemarketers calling me multiple times every day. I have received at least 30 calls a day, I am on the NO CALL LIST for years and recently put my name back on again. PLEASE HELP US ELDERLY PEOPLE GET RID OF THESE NUTS!!!