Vermonters warned about Medicare ‘open enrollment’ scams

3 mins read

MONTPELIER – The Department of Financial Regulation issued an alert explaining different types of Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Supplemental insurance in order to prevent scammers from taking advantage of the elderly.

“Our goal is to help older Vermonters protect themselves against scams and deceptive advertising when determining the health insurance coverage that is best for them,” said Commissioner Michael Pieciak.

Ads for Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage products may promise a range of services for “free” or “at no additional cost,” and some ads may even promise adding money to a “Medicare check.”

“We know that with the right information, older Vermonters can protect themselves against these Medicare scams and make the best decisions about their health care,” said Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living Commissioner Monica Hutt.

The following tips can be useful in recognising scams and deceptive advertising practices:

Read the fine print and don’t be fooled by how an ad looks or appears.

Many websites and print ads look like they are from Medicare but are not.

When looking for information about Medicare, go to the official website at https://www.medicare.gov.

Websites with similar addresses like Medicare.com, Medicare.org, or Medicare.net are not official.

Don’t believe agents who claim to work for Medicare, or ads that claim to offer plans that are “sponsored” or “endorsed” by Medicare.

There are no Medicare sales representatives.

Hang up on unsolicited phone calls trying to sell you a Medicare plan.

Neither insurance companies nor insurance agents are permitted to make unsolicited Medicare-related calls.

Although recent policy changes allow Medicare Advantage plans to offer benefits that aren’t health-related to enrollees with certain chronic conditions, insurance agents can’t guarantee that you will be eligible for those benefits before you enroll.

Don’t give out your personal information over the phone to someone who tells you that you must provide information to keep your Medicare coverage.

“We urge seniors and their families to be on the lookout for deceptive advertising and offers for Medicare products,” said Commissioner Pieciak.