Money in the Middle

Sandwich Generation Talking About Money Up, Down and Across Generations

Watch Out For Medicare Scams

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There’s a lot of confusion among seniors about what the health care reform does and does not do regarding Medicare.

 And where there is confusion, there are scams.

 Door-to-door and on the phone the scam artists are trying to get Medicare numbers and bank account numbers from seniors,  telling them they need the information to sign them up for new benefits or to make sure their benefits will continue.

 “There is nothing called “Obama Care” and the government doesn’t sell insurance,” Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for Aging, emphasized in a webchat today on seniors and health care reform. “If they say they are from the government they are scam artists.” 

These scammers are aggressive.  Reports are that on the phone, the caller asks for personal data like social security number, so a new Medicare card can be issued. Refuse and a second person posing as a supervisor gets on the line and says the information must be provided to remain in the Medicare program. Once they have the info, they use it to steal identities and tap into bank accounts.  Hang up! 

At the door, they say they are from the government selling the new Obamacare insurance that is required.  No one from the government comes knocking on your door selling insurance.  Close the door! (and don’t worry about being polite)

 Pass the word on to Medicare beneficiaries you know so they don’t get scammed.  The threat of losing Medicare can make people hand over information they normally wouldn’t.  Seven states –and increasing – are reporting scams.

 Scams should be reported to your state insurance department or office of attorneys general.

 Here are a couple other questions and answers from the session. (A recorded version will be posted at Healthcare

A. What decisions do Medicare recipients need to make now because of health care reform? 

There are no decisions that have to be made right now.  In the fall Medicare beneficiaries will have the opportunity to change plans (Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D just as they do each year.  The only immediate impact is the $250 rebate that will be provided to Part D policy holders who enter the “donut hole.”  The $250 rebate is automatically issued.  No forms.  No phone calls necessary.

 Q. Will Medicare Advantage be gone by 2014? 

Absolutely not true, Greenlee said.  There will continue to be choices in the future including private plan options. 

Q.  When do the annual wellness exams begin? 

January 1, 2011.

 There are more questions and answers at site regarding seniors, retirees under age 65 and Medicare recipients.

Best advice I heard today was to remind seniors that health care reform doesn’t require them to do anything new today, much less on their doorstep.  There is a lot of misinformation swirling around and especially targeted at the older generation.  If you know someone at risk, alert them to the potential scams.


Written by Laura Rossman

April 22, 2010 at 8:11 pm

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