The annual Medicare open enrollment period will be starting tomorrow and continue until December 7th. The open enrollment period is the only opportunity Medicare recipients have each year during which to change their Medicare D prescription drug plan. Medicare D prescription drug plans often change their coverage within the year, yet the only time a senior can change his or her plan is during the open enrollment period to make sure that he or she is enrolled in the best plan for him or her. Plans may change their formulary which is the list of covered drugs. They also may change other terms of the plan including the amount of any deductible so it is important for Medcicare recipients to review their plans each year and compare it against other plans to make sure that they have the best plan for them. Scammers take advantage of the open enrollment period to contact Medicare recipients by email or phone purporting to be from a Medicare prescription drug provider. The scammers then request personal information such as the senior’s Medicare number which is the same as his or her Social Security number. Despite recomendations from the GAO and other agencies to no longer use Social Security numbers as Medicare numbers, Medicare continues to use Social Security numbers as the Medicare identification number putting Medicare recipients in greater danger of identity theft. If a senior provides this number to the scammer, he or she will use that number to turn him or her into a victim of identity theft.
Everyone should always zealously guard the privacy of their Social Security number and Medicare number. It is a key to identity theft. An identity thief armed with a Social Security number and name can easily establish credit in the name of the person from whom the identity thief steals the Social Security number. Do not give out this information by phone or on the internet to someone who contacts you. You should also be aware that Medicare rules prohibit real prescription drug providers from contacting anyone by unsolicited emails or telephone calls so if you receive such a communication, you can be sure that it is a scam. For all the information you need to compare and choose a plan that is right for you, go to www.medicare.gov..