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Why does Medicare call us so much?

This is a big question and I hear it often. Medicare, in fact the Medicare and Medicaid Service Centers (CMS) rarely or never call someone on Medicare. This clarification is important for two very important reasons.

First, every time you answer one of these calls, you run the risk of switching to an insurance product that you may not want and may not understand.

Second, sometimes these calls could come from someone who commits Medicare fraud.

In both cases, the caller is trying to get YOU to say “Yes” at some point in the conversation and get your Medicare ID number.

Not too long ago, your Medicare ID number was your Social Security number. In 2018, CMS began mailing everyone with Medicare a new ID card with a unique new ID number for you, which is a combination of letters and numbers. This was to help prevent some of the identity thefts we were seeing.

People who want to commit fraud still want to get this ID number. All of your providers need this ID number to bill Medicare for your appointments and treatments. Those hoping to defraud Medicare also need this ID number.

Other people who do not want to defraud Medicare, but alternatively sign up for a different insurance, also need this Medicare ID number. When you decide to change your insurance during the annual enrollment period open each year (October 15-December 7), you will need your Medicare ID number to make that change.

There may be other opportunities to change your insurance for the rest of the year, which is why these brokers want your Medicare ID number. Many people, such as insurance brokers, receive a commission or are paid to enroll people in the insurance products to which they are affiliated. Most of the calls you receive are not local, they are calling from other parts of the country or from other countries for the sole purpose of getting this Medicare ID so that they can use it as they wish for fraud or switching. insurance. from the product you currently have to something that pays them a commission to make the change.

Your main way of protecting yourself is not to talk to them on the phone. When they say “Hi, is this John Doe?” Do not answer “Yes”– instead he asks “Who’s calling?!” When you answer “Yes”, they can use it to sign up for different products or buy something you don’t need and haven’t received.

But better yet, don’t answer the phone, drop it on your answering machine, and then answer when you know who it is.

Another way to protect yourself is to check your email and your insurance company’s benefits statement (EOB) for treatments, doctor visits, and medications. Check to see if they are all valid dates and procedures. Thoroughly review your Explanation of Benefits (insurance companies and pharmacy), billed items, and medications filled in the pharmacy or mail order. Sometimes these EOBs aren’t for anything you’ve done, and that’s a scam.

If you’re concerned about a procedure, product, or medication, I encourage people to call the provider first to clarify the bill. If you do not receive satisfactory information, please do not hesitate to contact Medicare.

If you receive a new insurance card in the mail and you don’t know why, you can call the company to see what’s going on. You can also call Medicare to ask when and why your insurance was changed.

CMS is working hard to keep Medicare a reliable, successful, and financially secure insurance product available to Americans with Medicare coverage. Your diligence in reviewing your Medicare Benefit Explanation and protecting your Medicare ID number will help you with this task.

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