Open enrollment for Medicare Part D is under way. Through Dec. 31, people eligible for Medicare can enroll in a plan for the first time, or change plans if theyve already enrolled. Unfortunately, unscrupulous individuals and businesses may see this period as an opportunity to sell fraudulent policies. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois is providing the following tips to help you avoid fraud:
Never enroll in a Medicare Part D plan over the phone. Though theyre allowed to call you directly, entities marketing Medicare Part D products and services are prohibited from enrolling you by phone. In addition, callers are prohibited from asking for up-front payments by phone.
Confirm agents affiliation before buying. Before inviting agents or sales representatives into your home, call the insurance carrier to confirm that the person actually represents the company they claim to represent.
Be wary of solicitors who show up at your doorstep. Reputable sales agents rarely go door-to-door uninvited trying to sell you insurance plans or benefits. Buying a policy from anyone who comes to your door uninvited is a major risk.
Keep any and all personal information private. Dont give out any personal informationsuch as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, social security numbers and even information about your health statusto people you dont know in person or over the phone.
Dont allow yourself to be pressured into making decisions without reviewing all the possible options first. Before making a decision, consider the plans total valuenot just premium price but co-payments and deductibles, tooand be sure the drugs you take are covered.
If you need help, ask a friend or family member. Friends or family members can help you sort through the options and make the best decision for you. Call someone if you need help.
For more information, visit www.bcbsil.com or call 1-888-285-2249. (TTY/TDD users call 1-888-285-2252) 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Monday-Sunday. For more information about Medicare prescription drug coverage, visit www.medicare.gov 1-800-Medicare (1-800-633-4227, TTY/TDD users call 877-486-2048) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
SMService Mark of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an Association of Independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois refers to HCSC Insurance Services Company, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company. These companies are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, and offer or provide services for Medicare Part D products under HCSC Insurance Services Companys contract S5715 with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.
From the Dec. 27, 2006-Jan. 2, 2007, issue