HOW CAN I SURVIVE THE MARKETING AVALANCHE AND AVOID SCAMS?
The Marketing Avalanche
Medicare prescription drug plans are marketing their plans
directly to you. Through the airwaves, newspapers,
mailboxes, email, and the telephone, companies will be bombarding
you with marketing materials. Although this marketing may be
informative, it may also be designed to influence you to choose a plan
may not be the best one for you. That is why it is VERY IMPORTANT
to take your time, compare plans and understand your choices
before you make any decisions. Click
here to see how to compare
Restrictions on Part D Marketing
Medicare has issued extensive marketing guidelines companies must
follow, including rules governing telemarketing, door-to-door
solicitations, and email.
Telemarketing may be used to give you information to help you make
an informed choice. Telemarketers may describe the benefits of
a plan, ask you if you want pre-enrollment information, and inform
you of changes in a plan. But BE CAREFUL. Make sure you know
these rules that telemarketers must follow.
Telemarketers ARE NOT ALLOWED TO:
for personal identification or financial information like Social
Security, Medicare, or credit card numbers, or bank account
numbers and information;
you in a plan.
Telemarketers ARE REQUIRED TO:
with the national Do-Not-Call Registry;
- honor “do
not call again” requests;
by the federal calling hours of 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
you that you are not required to provide any information
to the telemarketer.
Plans are not allowed to solicit you door-to-door unless you specifically
invite a plan representative to come to your house.
Plans are not allowed to send you emails unless you agree to receive
them and you give the plan your email address.
What You Can Do to Avoid Telemarketing
Register with the national Do-Not-Call Registry. To register, call
1-888-382-1222 (TTY 1-866-290-4236) from the number you wish
to register. If you have an email address, you can register online
at www.donotcall.gov. Registration is free and will remain in
effect for five years unless the number is disconnected or you
remove it from the registry. After five years you must renew
to be put on “Do Not Call” lists. When you
receive a telemarketing call, say “Put me on your ‘do
not call' list.” Companies
must keep this list and honor it for 10 years. Do not just say “I'm
not interested”. You must specifically ask to
be put on the “do not call” list to avoid future calls
from that plan.
How To Avoid Scams
Unfortunately, some people will try to take advantage of the Medicare
Part D enrollment process to scam Medicare participants. The
scams will be designed to obtain your personal identification
and financial information to steal your money or for identity
theft. To help protect yourself, take the following precautions:
the confidentiality of your sensitive personal information.
includes your Social Security number, your Medicare number,
and credit card and bank account numbers. Do not give out this
information unless you are ACTUALLY ENROLLING in a plan. People
who are simply telling you about a plan DO NOT NEED and SHOULD
NOT ask you for this type of information. You can give out your
address and phone number to receive additional materials, but
protect your personal identification numbers and financial information.
Even once you are enrolling in a plan, DO NOT give out credit
card numbers or bank account information to pay over the phone
or internet. Make the plan send you a bill.
2) Know the rules companies offering plans MUST FOLLOW:
cannot begin enrolling people until November 15, 2007.
plans will have a “Medicare-approved” seal
on their materials.
representatives CANNOT come to your home uninvited. They can
call you about their plan if you are not
on the “Do-not-call” list.
CANNOT enroll you over the telephone unless YOU call THEM.
(Or unless you are adding prescription drug coverage to a
Medicare Advantage Plan or other Medicare health plan you already
CANNOT ask for payment over the telephone or the Internet.
The plan must send you a bill. DO NOT give out a credit card
bank account number over the phone or online.
sure you enroll with a legitimate plan approved by Medicare. Once you choose a plan, call 1-800-MEDICARE or go to www.medicare.gov to make sure your plan is legitimate and approved by Medicare.
Check the company name, address, telephone number and website.
If you enroll with a plan directly rather than
through Medicare, MAKE SURE you are dealing with an actual representative
plan, the plan's actual website, or the plan's correct
paper application. If you enroll over the phone, be sure YOU call
the plan after checking their number with Medicare rather than
letting the plan call you.
*NOTE* If you think you have been a victim of fraud or improper
sales practices during this enrollment process, please call the
Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at 410-528-1840.