Don’t Get Scammed During Open Enrollment! Here’s How to Protect Yourself

Open enrollment healthcare benefit forms.
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Are you one of the millions of Americans signing up for or renewing your insurance soon? If so, you’ll want to be careful when selecting your plan.

Open enrollment for Obamacare, Medicare and private insurance began on Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 15. During this time, consumers should be mindful of the risks associated with signing up for coverage.

As with any major enrollment process, personal and sensitive information is sometimes required, and scammers try to get their hands this info any way they can.

Here’s how you can spot enrollment scams and protect yourself from becoming a victim.

How to Identify and Protect Yourself From Open Enrollment Scams

On Nov. 14, the Federal Trade Commission released a report on open enrollment scams. The report details Medicare, Obamacare and even private insurance scams that have been floating around recently.

AARP told Time Money that seniors are particularly vulnerable to these enrollment scams. Scammers are using the announcement that new Medicare cards are coming in 2018 to trick seniors into believing they have to take action, such as providing sensitive information, to receive their new cards.

AARP says your new card will be free and Medicare will never ask you to provide personal information to obtain it.

Regardless of which type of insurance you’re signing up for, it’s important to know how to identify related scams. Here are a few warning signs the FTC recommends looking out for:

  1. Anyone claiming to be an official Medicare agent is a scammer. Medicare does not employ sales representatives.
  1. Someone claims you must sign up for the Medicare prescription drug plan, which is also known as Medicare Part D. This is totally voluntary. If anyone calls you saying you must sign up for it or you’ll lose your coverage, it is a scam.
  1. Only shop for Obamacare coverage on HealthCare.gov. This is the official website where you can choose and purchase your health insurance. Any other website claiming to be where you sign up is a scam.
  1. Medical discount plans are not insurance plans. Be sure to check with your state insurance commissioner’s office if you’re unsure of a provider’s legitimacy.

Worried you’ve seen, or worse, fallen for a scam? You should report Medicare scams to Medicare.gov. For all other scams, be sure to report them to the FTC.

Stay safe this enrollment season!

Kelly Anne Smith is a junior writer and engagement specialist at The Penny Hoarder. Catch her on Twitter at @keywordkelly.

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