BBB: Be on the lookout for Medicare scams during open enrollment

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Open enrollment for Medicare is now underway through December 7.

During this time, people can join, drop or switch their health insurance coverage, but as the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin warns scams are already being reported.

“They know what’s going on and that’s the prime time for them to take advantage of consumers,” Lisa Schiller with the BBB of Wisconsin said.

The BBB says scammers strike every year during open enrollment. The most common scams are over the phone.

“They claim they can help you navigate your Medicare options and of course in order to do this, they need some personal information from you,” Schiller explained. “They may call themselves a healthcare benefit advocate or something similar, don’t fall for this.”

As the Waukesha County Aging and Disability Resource Center explained, it is important to know all of the plan options.

“Medicare beneficiaries need to look at the plans every year because there are changes,” Elder Benefits Specialist Dawn Hendrix said. “They receive their Notice of Change booklet by September 30 of every year.”

As Hendrix explained, there are several ways for people to get help figuring out which plan is right for them. That includes calling the Medicare hotline at 1-800-Medicare, the Wisconsin Medigap Helpline at 800-242-1060 or reaching out to your county's Aging and Disability Resource Center.

If you get a call out of the blue, the BBB says the best thing to do is hang up before you give out any information.

“All that does is open you up for identity theft,” Schiller said. “You don’t know what they’re going to do with your personal information so keep that to yourself.”

More information can be found on the Medicare website.

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