Ohioans on Medicare urged to protect against scams


COLUMBUS — Ohio Department of Insurance Director Judith L. French is urging Ohioans on Medicare to protect themselves against scams to take their personal information during Medicare’s Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 open enrollment period to select coverage for 2024.

“With the barrage of plan options and marketing pitches, it can be difficult to discern if something is legitimate or fraudulent,” French said. “Be wary of any Medicare communication seeking personal information or money in exchange for help with Medicare enrollment or services.”

How to protect yourself:

Never give personal information, including Medicare, Social Security, bank account, and credit card numbers, to anyone who contacts you unsolicited by telephone, email, text, or in person, such as door-to-door sales.

Medicare will never call you to sell anything, visit your home, or enroll you over the phone unless you called first.

Medicare or Medicare health plans will only call and request personal information if you’re a plan member or you called and left a message.

Only give certain personal information to your doctors, insurance companies acting on your behalf, or trusted people in the community officially working with Medicare such as the Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP), which is a program of the Ohio Department of Insurance.

Never purchase gift cards as payment for anything.

Report fraud and predatory sales practices:

OSHIIP partners with Ohio’s Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) to detect and report wrongdoing. The SMP provides education and response to reported Medicare fraud, waste, and abuse. Contact SMP at 800-488-6070 and proseniors.org/ohio-smp.

If you feel an insurance agent is using high-pressure, fraudulent, or dishonest sales practices, contact the Ohio Department of Insurance Fraud and Enforcement Division at 800-686-1527 or the SMP.

Medicare has implemented new marketing guidelines for representatives of Medicare plans, including prohibiting asking for personal information, such as bank account or credit card numbers over the phone, unless it is needed to process an enrollment request.

OSHIIP Director Chris Reeg recently testified before the United States Senate Finance Committee in Washington, D.C. on the topic of cracking down on deceptive practices and improving senior experiences.

OSHIIP representatives are available at 800-686-1578, or by email, [email protected], and insurance.ohio.gov to answer Medicare questions.

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