Health insurance Your Coverage Options

Three tips to avoid a health insurance scam

Written by Diane Archer

Health insurance scams abound. Marketing agents working for a health insurer may call you, appear at your door, or email you to get you to sign up for a health plan. That’s how they make money. So, beware. And keep these three tips in mind:

  1. Protect your personal information. Do not give anyone your Medicare number or Social Security number, credit card number or bank account details. Before speaking with anyone about your health plan choices, make sure the person is really representing a health insurance company. Some people pretend to be selling a health plan just to get your personal information. If you have Medicare, call Medicare, 1-800-333-4114, or call the health plan directly to confirm the agent trying to sell you health insurance is not scamming you.
  2. Don’t take the word of the person trying to sell you a health plan about the doctors you will be able to use. Before you sign up, call your doctors to make sure they are in the plan’s network and that they will continue to treat you. Or, if you’re willing to switch doctors, call to confirm that the doctors listed in the plan’s network are taking new patients and that you can use them. If you have Medicare, keep in mind that only traditional Medicare covers your care from most doctors and hospitals anywhere in the United States.
  3. Know your rights. Agents selling health plans to people with Medicare cannot call you, email you or appear at your door unless you give them permission to. They also cannot ask you for financial information or your Medicare number. Before you let them try to sell you a health plan, call your state health insurance program for free advice on your options. And, if you receive a letter that looks official–it looks like it comes from Medicare or a government agency–call your State Health Insurance Plan to confirm it’s legitimate before doing anything else.

For more information on how to protect yourself against Medicare fraud, visit MedicareInteractive.org.

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