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How to Protect Yourself Against Common Medicare Scams

(Sharecare) In addition to the challenge of sifting through the dizzying array of plan options, experts say Medicare open enrollment is also prime time for Medicare scams…
There are a few quick tips when it comes to protecting yourself against scams, experts say.
First is to guard your Medicare number – which in most cases is your Social Security number – the same way you would protect your bank and credit card information…
Second, keep in mind that Medicare will never call or email you with product offers…
Also, if an insurance agent calls or visits your home to sell or endorse any Medicare product, he or she is acting illegally…
Finally, keep an eye out for these five common Medicare open enrollment scams:
1.      Switching plans is a must… "Don't ever believe somebody who says you have to change your Medicare Advantage or Part D prescription drug plan," [says Micki Nozaki of the California Senior Medicare Patrol]…
2.      Medicare is changing cards. [James Quiggle, director of communications at the nonprofit Coalition Against Insurance Fraud] says to be on the lookout for anyone who tells you Medicare cards are changing and that to get your new card you just need to update your information…
3.      For you, a special price. High-pressure pitches for Medicare insurance policies that come with especially low costs are common during open enrollment…
4.      Health fair scams. Health fairs or other events that take place during Medicare open enrollment can be ripe with opportunities for fraud…
5.      Phony organizations. Finally, experts say to be on the alert for any calls from people saying they're from your doctor's office, or state or local health agencies that are often given a phony, official-sounding name.
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Please do not give advice. We can best help each other by telling what works for us, not what we think someone else should do.