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Sat, Dec. 07

Editorial: 5 ways to spot an ‘open enrollment’ scam

With 2020 just around the corner, we’re all trying to decide what type of health coverage we’d like to have in the next calendar year.

Whether you’re about to change, or add, to your current health coverage, apply for Medicare or the Affordable Care Act, the Federal Trade Commission recently offered a few tips on how to protect your personal information this enrollment season.

You have until Dec. 7 (Medicare) or Dec. 15 (ACA) to make changes. With that, here are five ways to watch out for scams when signing up for Medicare or ACA:

PHONE CALLS

Generally, Medicare scams involve a random person reaching out to you by phone or email and demanding pieces of personal information.

This contact can come off professional, except the person reaching out wants to “help you” capitalize on a so-called great offer, or aims to help prevent you from losing benefits all together.

They’ll claim your Medicare benefits are about to be suspended if you don’t provide billing information, or you’ll be asked to provide your Social Security number or bank account to verify and “correct” the problem.

If you suspect a Medicare scam, call 800-MEDICARE (633-4227) or go to Medicare.gov.

Never give information over the phone to someone who says they need it so you can keep your coverage. Hang up the phone on anyone who asks for quick payments, threatens you, or offers free equipment or services in exchange for information.

AGENTS

Anyone who tried to sell you Medicare insurance while claiming to be an “official Medicare agent” is a scammer. There are no Medicare sales representatives.

PRESCRIPTIONS

Ignore anyone who says you must join a prescription drug plan to keep your Medicare coverage. The Medicare prescription drug plan (also known as Part D) is voluntary and has nothing to do with the rest of your Medicare coverage.

MARKETPLACE

Those looking to search for health care plans using the ACA, check out quality ratings to see how plans compare to others in Arizona. These will be done using member experience, medical care and health plan administration.

Starting this year, you can sign up directly through several certified partners, just visit: healthcare.gov/direct-enrollment.

If you need help, call the Marketplace center at 800-318-2596 to ask questions, finish an application, compare plans and enroll.

REPORT A SCAM

Finally, if you spot a scam, report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. They can help you fight scams.

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