BBB Warns of Health Insurance Open Enrollment Scams

With health insurance open enrollment season just around the corner, US consumers preparing to change or add to their health coverage should watch out for scammers, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns.

According to the consumer protection organization, fraudsters call unsuspecting citizens and pose as official Medicare agents or “health care benefits advocates.”

During the phone call, these so-called agents will try to “sell” you a better Medicare program by offering the same benefits at a lower price.
What do you need to do? Provide your personal information alongside your Medicare ID number, and you’re all set.

To assure success, some scammers deploy petty scare tactics by insisting that your health insurance will be canceled unless you re-enroll. The advisor also provides a quick fix – share your personal information, and you will be set up with a renewed health insurance plan.

By offering your Medicare ID number and additional personal identifiable information, consumers may fall victim to identity theft.

How to protect against open enrollment scams

A seasoned fraudster can be very convincing, both in person and over the phone. However, you can safeguard your personal and financial information by paying attention to the most common red flags:

• Unsolicited emails or phone calls from individuals representing Medicare or ACA (Affordable Care Act) that ask for personal information. Usually, individuals already enrolled in a health insurance plan will not be contacted by Medicare advisors

• Professional health insurance providers will not threaten or seek to scare you into registering for specific health insurance plans

• Refuse any promotional gifts or free health screenings in exchange for your personal information

• Never provide your Medicare ID number, Social Security number, health plan details, or financial information by phone or email to unverified individuals

• When in doubt, hang up the phone and visit the official website of your health insurance provider for guidance

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