Protecting Yourself from Marketing Violations During Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, you will likely experience more marketing from private Medicare plans, like Medicare Advantage Plans and Part D plans. Companies try to reach consumers in various ways, like television commercials, radio ads, events, mailings, phone calls, and texts. The government has rules, though, to protect you from forceful or misleading marketing. Knowing the rules and red flags can help you make the best choices for yourself during Open Enrollment. Point 1: Know the marketing rules that these private Medicare health and drug plans must follow. Remember, these companies are not the government. They just have permission from the government to sell their private plans to you. Point 2: Recognize potential marketing violation red flags.
• No one should make you feel that you could lose your Medicare benefits if you don’t enroll in their plan. • No one should ask for your Medicare or Social Security numbers just to provide you with information.
• No one should make a cold call to ask for your Medicare or Social Security information. Instead, rely on government websites, phone numbers, and offices for information. Your Senior Medicare Patrol, called SMP, or your State Health Insurance Assistance
Program, called SHIP, are government funded. Point 3: Report plan marketing violations.
These projects are supported in part by grant number 90MPPG0022, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy. No one should ask for your Medicare number, Social Security number, or bank information just to provide you with information. Someone can use your personal information to enroll you in a plan without your permission or to steal your personal information. If you have been enrolled in a plan without your knowledge or because of misleading marketing, you may be able to make changes to your coverage outside of the Open Enrollment Period. Call 1-800-MEDICARE or your local SHIP to see if you qualify and for help making the change. Pima Council on Aging is your local SHIP and SMP. Call (520) 546-2011 or email SHIP@pcoa.org for assistance. If you think you have experienced marketing violations, you should report it. Keep any documented proof, such as an agent’s business card, marketing materials, emails, or phone call records. You can report marketing violations to 1-800-MEDICARE or your local SHIP or SMP. Your local SHIP or SMP can explain the government’s marketing rules, help you review the incident, and report it to the correct authorities, if needed. Point 4: Protect yourself from unwanted enrollments or identity theft.
Page 10 | November/December 2023, Never Too Late
Pima Council on Aging
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