Health Care Blogs | All Posts
All Posts
rss
Scam Prevention - You have the Power!

Scam Prevention - You have the Power!

Posted: October 7, 2021

OCTOBER 2021

SCAM PREVENTION – YOU HAVE THE POWER!

 

It’s that time of year again! Annual Open Enrollment. If you watch TV, you know that this means more commercials for Medicare insurance. Some of these commercials feature famous athletes or even make you feel like you are “missing out” on benefits that you are entitled too. Be careful and do your homework to make sure you understand what benefits and plans are available to you. A few important things to remember: 


  • Annual Open Enrollment (AEP)

    • Runs from 10/15 - 12/7 each year for those that want to make changes to their Part D prescription plan or to their Medicare Health Plan (like a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Cost plan). To find out more about what constitutes as a "Medicare Health Plan," you can visit the Medicare website at this link

    • *Note that a "Medicare Health Plan" does not include Medigap/Wrap plans, like WEA-MedPlus.

  • Medigap/Wrap plans

    • Have a six-month open enrollment window that begins when:

      • You enroll in Medicare Part B, or

      • When you turn 65 (if you are under 65 and have been enrolled in Medicare due to disability)

    • In addition to the open enrollment periods, you may have a Guaranteed Issue to come onto a Medigap/Wrap plan regardless of health status. The most common Guaranteed Issue scenarios are: moving out of the service area, coming off of a group plan, or losing Medicaid Assistance. 

    • The Annual Open Enrollment (AEP) does NOT apply to Medigap/Wrap plans

     

While the TV commercials say the word, "Medicare" and use red/white/blue colors or images, the telephone numbers displayed are not for Medicare - they are typically for an agent or broker. The fine print on the bottom of the screen says that these plans are not affiliated with any government program or agency. 


REMEMBER: the telephone number for Medicare is 1-800-MEDICARE


The benefits that the commercials mention, like eyeglasses, hearing aids, rides to appointments, etc. are benefits that may be offered with certain Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Advantage plans vary greatly and if you sign up for one of them you may inadvertently change the benefits that you currently have. 


Some commercials mention that you may qualify for money that can be added back to your Social Security check each month. Be very careful, as there are conditions that apply to this statement. This rebate is something that you may qualify for if you purchase a Medicare Advantage plan and live in a certain region of the country. Other commercials state that you may qualify for $0 premiums or that you would be eligible for additional benefits at no cost. Again, be very careful as there is fine print for these types of situations as well. $0 premium plans may not be available in your area and they typically have copays and out-of-pockets costs that can apply.


What's the bottom line? By responding to the TV commercials, you may end up with a Medicare Advantage plan that is not available in your area, does not include your preferred health care provider, or has costs that you were not anticipating. Since the new plan wouldn't go into effect until January 1st, you may not find out these things until it's too late.


What can you do to make sure you understand your options? Familiarize yourself with your current plan and make sure you understand the differences between Medicare Parts A, B, C & D, as well as Medigap/Wrap plans. There are also many resources for Medicare beneficiaries in Wisconsin:


  • Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC)

    • ADRCs are run through the state of Wisconsin and are located in every Wisconsin county and tribe. Benefit specialists help with Medicare, counseling, and general benefit questions.

    • More information can be found atdhs.wisconsin.gov/adrc or by phone at 608-266-2536

  • Medigap Helpline

    • Helpline that is operated by the Wisconsin Board on Aging and Long-Term Care. Specialists provide counseling on Medicare, Medicare Supplements, Medicare Advantage plans, employer-based health insurance, long-term care insurance, etc.

    • Call toll-free 1-800-242-1060

  • Medigap Part D and Prescription Drug Helpline

    • Helpline that answers questions from Wisconsin residents who are age 60+ about Medicare Part D and other prescription drug options

    • Call toll-free 1-855-677-2783

  • Medicare

    • You can connect with Medicare directly at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or by visiting their website at Medicare.gov

     

Remember to be vigilant and protect yourself! If you ever have questions regarding your WEA-MedPlus plan, feel free to call us at 1-800-279-4000.

 

Was this information useful?