Federal rules shield against Medicare drug scams

Scam Watch

December 02, 2007

With the enrollment period for Medicare prescription coverage under way until the end of the year, scam artists are ready to pounce on unsuspecting seniors who are searching for providers, warned the Federal Trade Commission and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Here is what providers may and may not do:

Medicare Part D plan representatives may call to tell you about their Medicare drug plans, but they may not call you if you've placed your number on the FTC's Do Not Call Registry, or 888-382-1222.

If you're not on the Do Not Call Registry, representatives may call you to tell you about their plans, but they may not sign you up. They can only enroll you if you call them.

Providers may come to your home only if you have invited them to do so.

Providers may ask you how you want to pay your premiums, but they may not ask you for payment over the phone or through the Internet. They must mail you a bill for the premiums.

There is no fee to enroll in plans.

Companies are not permitted to send you unsolicited e-mail.

Remember to keep all your personal information safe and resist talking to anyone peddling offers. Finally, before you call a provider or return a call to a provider, call Medicare first to verify its legitimacy. The number is 800-633-4227.

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