September 9, 2013
Each year during the fall Medicare open enrollment period the number of Medicare scams targeting seniors soars. This year scammers are also taking advantage of implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Although Medicare open enrollment doesn't begin until Oct. 15 and the health care reform's Covered California opens October, the scamming has already started.
Often in these scams, the perpetrator poses as the government or a member of a health care plan. According to the Federal Trade Commission, scammers have already begun calling Medicare beneficiaries, posing as the government, saying that they need the beneficiary's Medicare and credit information because of changes due to the new health care reform law. In one scam, the imposter claims that all Medicare beneficiaries will be receiving new Medicare cards because of the new law and asks the beneficiary to verify his or her Medicare number, which is the same as a person's Social Security number.
It's not just Medicare beneficiaries who are being targeted by scammers this year. In another scam, the caller poses as a federal employee and states that the individual will be receiving a new federal health insurance card under the Affordable Care Act. The caller says he or she needs additional information including personal information and bank account numbers. There is no federal health insurance card and the government will not be contacting people for personal or banking information.
Another scam starting to appear is fake online health exchanges. Covered California is the official state health care exchange, which will open in October 2013. The fake sites use similar wording such as "exchange" in the page heading. It is anticipated that the number of fake exchanges will increase in the coming months. Visit the official Covered California website at http://www.coveredca.com/.
To avoid becoming a victim of one of these scams, seniors and others should never reveal their Medicare card number, which is the same as the Social Security number, or other personal health and financial information to anyone who makes contact over the phone or the internet. The government will not contact beneficiaries by phone, email or visit the home asking for verification of Social Security and Medicare numbers.
On Saturday, Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the University of the Pacific, Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and McGeorge School of Law will be hosting a Medicare Outreach and Health Fair.
University of the Pacific student pharmacists will: evaluate your existing Medicare Part D plan, review your medications to make sure they are safe taken together, and provide flu vaccines and health screenings.
McGeorge School of Law students will: answer question regarding your rights as a Medicare beneficiary, provide information on how to appeal denials of care, and teach you to identify Medicare and Affordable Act scams. Appointments for services provided by the Pharmacy students are recommended. Call 209.932.2958 to schedule an appointment.
What: Health Fair for Seniors and Other Medicare Beneficiaries
When: Saturday, Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: McGeorge School of Law
3200 Fifth Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95817
1 California Health Advocates. “New Health Care Reform Scams Target the Young and Old”. July 25, 2013.