COLUMBUS – Ohio Department of Insurance director Judith L. French is cautioning the more than 2.5 million Ohioans on Medicare to be on alert for scams attempting to steal their personal information during the current Medicare open enrollment period, which runs through Dec. 7.
Consumers should watch for fake Medicare communications seeking personal information or money in exchange for any of the following: to help with enrollment, to schedule health services, to sign up for a Part D prescription drug plan or Medicare health plan coverage, and to provide a new Medicare card.
How to protect yourself
Never give personal information, including Medicare, Social Security, bank account, and credit card numbers, to anyone who contacts you unsolicited by telephone, email, text, or in person, such as door-to-door sales.
Medicare will never call you to sell anything, visit your home, or enroll you over the phone unless you called first. Also, scammers spoof phone numbers to look like a phone call is from a trusted source.
Medicare or Medicare health plans will only call and request personal information if you’re a plan member or you called and left a message.
Only give certain personal information to your doctors, insurance companies acting on your behalf, or trusted people in the community officially working with Medicare, such as from the Ohio Department of Insurance’s Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP).
Seek Medicare information from a trusted resource
As the state’s longtime official Medicare educational resource, OSHIIP is conducting Medicare Checkup events virtually and on-site across the state, and individual virtual counseling to help Ohioans navigate Medicare. OSHIIP’s Medicare experts are also available at 800-686-1578 and email@example.com. A Medicare Checkup events schedule and counseling scheduling tool are available at insurance.ohio.gov.
The careful evaluation of Medicare plan options is imperative because plans may have different benefits, out-of-pocket costs, covered prescription drugs, in-network physicians, and premiums each year.
Report fraud and predatory sales practices
OSHIIP partners with the Ohio Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) to detect and report wrongdoing. The SMP provides education and response to reported Medicare fraud, waste, and abuse. Contact SMP at 800-488-6070.
If you feel an insurance agent is using high-pressure, fraudulent, or dishonest sales practices, contact the Ohio Department of Insurance at 800-686-1527 and insurance.ohio.gov.