Senior Medicare Patrol - January 2015 News You Can Use

Medicare Card Scam Calls Happening in Iowa Now!

            Iowa seniors have reported that scammers are working hard to steal personal information by calling about “new” Medicare cards and “better benefits.”  The scam theme is about improved benefits coming for your Medicare or supplemental insurance, if you give personal information like your Medicare number, other insurance ID number, doctor’s name or drugstore location. 

            For years, scammers have made calls early each year with an offer of new insurance cards but it appears they are now trying even harder to sell themselves as legitimate by also asking for other information like your health provider’s name.  Just because they ask a lot of questions does not mean they are honest! 

            Please read Iowa Senior Medicare Patrol’s article about “Getting Your Medicare Ready for 2015,” for tips about new cards for the new year.  In the meantime, please tell your friends and neighbors to watch out for these scam calls, do not give out any personal information.  If you receive this type of call, Iowa Senior Medicare Patrol would like you to report it to us at 1-800-423-2449

Get Your Medicare Ready for 2015

            The Medicare website, www.medicare.gov  has an interesting blog section; we’ve used a title from a recent entry and encourage you to read this summary of suggestions.

  • Make sure you take the right insurance card to your doctor visit.   If you are on original Medicare, your red, white and blue card is good from year to year; it doesn’t expire.  Remember, even if you’ve gone to your doctor or used the same hospital for years, they have the right to ask to see your Medicare card each time you visit.  If you are on a Prescription Drug Plan and you changed plans for 2015, be sure you have received your new ID card and use it at the drugstore.  If you’ve not received it, contact the plan you signed up with.  If you are in a Medicare Advantage plan and you changed plans, also be sure you have your new card. 
  • Check with your doctor to see if you are eligible for Medicare-covered preventive tests or screening.  Many of these are covered each year, at no charge to you, if you meet the requirements; your doctor will know. 
  • New deductibles will apply, so make sure you budget for some out of pocket expense.
  • READ your “2015 Medicare & You” handbook that was mailed last fall.  You can also download electronic copies and audio versions of the handbook.  Check it out at www.medicare.gov

Phone Scammers Lie About Getting Money Back

            The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warned the public about phone scammers that call persons that have already lost money to a scam, offering to “recover” some of their losses for them.  The scammers require their victims to pay advance fees in order to get their money returned.  The FTC says, “If you lost money to a scam, don’t believe anyone who promises they can get your money back if you pay them an up-front ree.  That’s against the law.  Report them to the FTC at www.ftc.gov/complaint.” 

Source: FTC Blog Topics “Money & Credit” dated Nov. 20, 2014

  • News distributed by Nancy Creery, Iowa Senior Medicare Patrol Program Coordinator, Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging (NEI3A), Waterloo, IA,  ncreery@nei3a.org

News Type: