Insurance Commissioner Warns Seniors Of Marketing Scams During Medicare Open Enrollment

Insurance Commissioner Warns Seniors Of Marketing Scams During Medicare Open Enrollment

 

California's Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones warned seniors and their advocates to be especially aware of unscrupulous marketing practices during the 2012 annual open enrollment period for Medicare Advantage Plans and the Medicare Prescription Drug Program. Open enrollment begins October 15 and runs through December 7.

"Medicare open enrollment is a time when older Californians should be particularly cautious," said Commissioner Dave Jones. "A growing number of California seniors are falling prey to unscrupulous sales people peddling products seniors don't need and cannot afford. If it's too good to be true, it probably is."

The California Department of Insurance offers the following tips to help seniors and their advocates protect against predatory insurance sales practices:

  • Medicare has no official sales representatives so the program doesn't send people to solicit your business;
  • Federal regulations prohibit unsolicited sales calls or marketing in educational or care settings;
  • Guard your personal information. Never give out your social security number, bank account numbers or credit card information over the telephone;
  • Federal Regulations also prohibit offers of free meals for listening to sales presentations or for signing up in a particular plan;
  • Verify that the person you are dealing with has proper authority to act on behalf of the plan.

The department urges the public to report deceptive practices at (800) 927-HELP (4357). Consumers can also visit the web site at www.insurance.ca.gov and go to the senior portal, which contains more information about the issue.

(California Department of Insurance)