‘Don’t share your Medicare number:’ Watch out for Medicare scams during Open Enrollment

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MILWAUKEE — If you get an unexpected call from Medicare -- hang up! State officials are warning people about potential scams now that Medicare Open Enrollment is underway.

As part of the Wisconsin Senior Medicare Patrol, Ingrid Kundinger hears about Medicare-related scams everyday. At a meeting of The Wisconsin Alliance of Retired Americans, there's no shortage of first-hand experiences.

"They asked for my ID or my ID number," a retiree named Doug said.

"I hung up! That's what I did," recalled another retiree -- Joanne.

Medicare Open Enrollment runs from October 15 - December 7. During this time, scammers have an excuse to reach out.

Ingrid Kundinger, Senior Medicare Patrol

"They're usually after your Medicare number," Kundinger explained.

She says no one should be cold-calling Medicare recipients to talk about plans.

"Don't share your Medicare number. Don't share your social security information," Kundinger advised.

Some common lines in scam calls include:

  • "I can help you sign-up for health care coverage."
  • "I need to confirm billing information to keep your coverage active."
  • "I have a great deal on a supplemental plan."

Lara Sutherlin of Wisconsin Consumer Protection says you may even get an unsolicited knock on the door.

Lara Sutherlin, Wisconsin Consumer Protection

"Folks will try to encourage you to do something immediately with some urgency or you`'ll lose this opportunity. You're not going to lose any opportunity," Sutherlin said.

For unbiased information about Medicare plans, you can call the Senior Medicare Patrol.

"We can be of assistance. We do have a toll free number," Kundinger said.

The phone number for Senior Medicare Patrol is 888-818-2611.

By now, Medicare recipients should have received an annual "Plan Notice of Change" information booklet. It's important to read that booklet and sure your doctors will be in network and your prescriptions will covered.

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