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Beware of scammers during open enrollment period

By Tiffany Erhard

Open enrollment is Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, a period each year when individuals can change their Medicare and prescription drug selections.

New York StateWide Senior Action Council offers free confidential services by HIICAP trained counselors. According to the SMPresource.org it is estimated Medicare loses $60 billion dollars a year to fraud, errors, and abuse. Common scams to look out for this open enrollment include:

¯ Individuals that call stating they are “an official Medicare Agent” or that they “represent Medicare”. Medicare representatives do not call to verify your information or cold-call you.

¯ Saying you must join a Medicare prescription drug plan (known as Part D). It is voluntary to join a prescription drug plan.

¯ If someone calls to verify your information such as your Medicare number or Social Security number. Medicare nor Social Security will never call you to verify that information. If you are unsure, you can hang up and call 1-800-MEDICARE or your local Social Security office.

¯ Individuals may pressure you to enroll into their plan by threatening you will lose benefits. You have the entire annual Open Enrollment period to make a change.

If you suspect your Medicare number or Social Security number has been compromised or believe you’ve been enrolled in a plan without your permission, contact your state Senior Medicare Patrol at 800-333-4374.

Tiffany Erhard is a HIICAP certified Outreach Counselor at New York Statewide Senior Action Council and a Chautauqua County resident. Tiffany can help with questions regarding Medicare bills, Patients’ Rights, Medicare Fraud Prevention, and plan comparisons. Call Tiffany at New York StateWide Senior Action Council 800-333-4374 for free and confidential information.

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