RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – As we approach the season for open enrollment for health care plans, there is a warning from the Better Business Bureau. It’s seeing a sudden influx of scams trying to trick people out of their personal information and money.
It begins with an out-of-the-blue call telling you the person is “working closely with Medicare,” and warning that “if you do not act soon, then Medicare may label you as ineligible for coverage.”
“If someone’s giving you a call, maybe you want to take a step back, understand this is potentially a red flag,” said Alyssa Parker of the Better Business Bureau of the Carolinas.
No one associated with Enrollment for Medicare or the Affordable Care Act is going to call you unsolicited.
When the scammers call, they are trying to collect personal information.
“It’s incredibly important to guard your government issued numbers,” said Parker. “Never offer your Medicare I.D. number, your Social Security number, health plan info or banking information to anyone you don’t know.”
Legitimate health care plans send solicitation letters to people and they don’t try and rush you into taking action in a matter of minutes.
The hallmark of a scam is they try and push you into making a decision.
With open enrollment, it fits the scammers’ agenda because you do have a limited time of a couple of weeks to make that decision–so they try and accelerate that decision-making process on your part.
“You really want to make sure that you are doing it with legitimate websites, with legitimate (phone) numbers… because scammers do really prey and use those high-pressure sales tactics,” said Parker. “They want you to do it right now… before you get off the phone.”
There are several red flags to watch out for when it comes to scammers pitching open enrollment deals.
- Be wary of free gift offers in exchange for information
- Be suspicious of free health screening offers
- Only make changes to your health care plan on official websites like MEDICARE.GOV or HEALTHCARE.GOV
If you have questions about medical insurance coverage, the NC Department of Insurance has a free hotline you can call. It’s 855-408-1212.
The experts there will help explain what you need to do about your medical coverage so you can then find a plan that suits you.