Use Caution During the Annual Enrollment Period (10/15 through 12/7)
September 9th, 2016
Beware of brokers, and their representatives, attempting to sell plans to you without your knowledge! Some seniors are told that they may qualify for special Medicare programs and try to schedule appointments. Seniors are being led to believe that the callers are Medicare employees or work for an insurance carrier. So if someone comes to your door and suggests that by signing a form you will get your ID cards faster, you are not being told the truth!
Medicare employees do not visit Medicare beneficiaries in their home, nor does insurance carrier employees, according to Forshee.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) does not allow brokers to make the initial contact with Medicare beneficiaries when selling Medicare Advantage plans and other Medicare programs. Below are some Medicare Marketing Guidelines taken from America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), which is the organization that works with CMS to qualify and help certify insurance agents each year:
Marketing representatives are prohibited from making unsolicited contact with beneficiaries, including through:
– Door-to-door solicitation, including leaving leaflets, flyers or door hangers at a residence or on someone’s car;
– Approaching beneficiaries in common areas such as parking lots, hallways, lobbies, or sidewalks; or
– Telephonic or electronic solicitation, including leaving electronic voicemail messages, text messaging, sending unsolicited e-mail messages, or unsolicited messages through social media.
– The prohibition on marketing through unsolicited contacts does not extend to mail and other print media such as advertisements and direct mail that meets other CMS requirements.
– Leads may be generated through mailings, websites, advertising, and public sales events.
This is occurring now because the Annual Election Period (AEP) which runs Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, is drawing near. All Medicare beneficiaries can change plans during this time the following year.
If someone suspects fraud, they can contact the local police, Medicare at 1-800-Medicare, or the Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General at 800-HHS-TIPS. People also may contact the Missouri Department of Insurance at their Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-726.7390.