Health Alliance Plan (HAP), a Michigan-based nonprofit health plan, is cautioning consumers about a recent Medicare scam. Unsuspecting consumers are being engaged in conversations about their Medicare coverage with a Medicare “representative” and, during the call, are asked for their Medicare ID number. This can result in unauthorized changes or even a complete change in the consumer’s Medicare Advantage plan.
HAP recommends that consumers hang up on anyone requesting their Medicare ID number and immediately call the customer service number on the back of their insurance card. At HAP, our customer care team ensures that each member’s coverage is continued and that nothing irregular has occurred with their account.
“We are receiving an increasing number of reports about aggressive Medicare solicitations aimed at securing Medicare ID numbers from unsuspecting consumers,” said Margaret Anderson, Senior Vice President, HAP. “Consumers are always able to get information on Medicare plans without providing an ID number. The only time the Medicare ID number is required is when consumers are actually enrolling in a plan. We advise HAP members to treat their Medicare ID with the same high level of protection they give Social Security and credit card numbers. We don’t want any of our members – or any senior – to be caught up in a scam.”
HAP has several easy tips for protecting your Medicare account:
- Never give your Medicare number or other personal information to an unknown caller.
- Be suspicious of anyone who calls and claims to be able to help you sign up for coverage but needs to confirm your Medicare number, or asks for your Medicare number to provide you enrollment information.
- If a caller says they’re from Medicare and asks for your Medicare number or other personal information, hang up. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services will never call to ask for personal information or check Medicare numbers.
- Don’t trust caller ID. Scammers use technology to hide their real numbers and instead display numbers that look legitimate – some even us the word Government on the caller ID.
- Anyone who tries to sell you Medicare insurance while claiming to be an “official Medicare agent” is a scammer. Medicare does not use representatives. If someone comes to your door claiming to be from Medicare, remember Medicare does not send representatives to your home.
- Ignore anyone who calls saying you must join their prescription drug plan or you will lose your Medicare coverage. The Medicare prescription drug plan (also known as Part D) is completely voluntary.
- Be alert for mailers that appear to be government communications but are advertisements for private companies. These mailers will sometimes have a disclaimer, but it is buried in small print. Read carefully!
HAP wants the community to be safe and smart about Medicare and the potential for Medicare fraud. Consumers with questions about Medicare or HAP can call our customer service team at 800-801-1770, Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. or view our Medicare Advantage plans at www.hap.org/medicare.