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BBB warns of scammers during open enrollment period

Scammers often see open enrollments as a chance to trick people out of money and personal information.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning people of open enrollment scams. 

The BBB says, scammers take advantage of the sometimes confusing and overwhelming process to trick people out of money and personal information. 

Scammers will sometimes claim to be government representatives who can help you navigate open enrollment options, and will claim they can enroll you in a better program than what you have at a cheaper price. Some scammers will try and scare you into immediate enrollment by telling you you must enroll now or your plan will be discontinued immediately. 

The BBB says, no one is going to contact you out of the blue to help you through enrollment. 

"Those unsolicited phone calls, text messages, emails even are a red flag and we want people to be aware that you can work with somebody who can help you through this process but you have to be the one to reach out to them and you should go directly to healthcare dot gov to do that," said Kelsey Coleman with BBB. 

The BBB says, these are common red flags to look out for:

  • Be wary of anyone who contacts you unsolicited. People representing Medicare or ACA plans don’t contact you by phone, email, or in person unless you are already enrolled. Be especially cautious of threatening calls that require quick action or immediate payment.
  • Decline promotional gifts in exchange for personal information. Keep a healthy level of skepticism any time a broker offers you free gifts, health screenings, or other special deals. Never sign up with a broker who offers you an expensive “sign-up gift” in exchange for providing your Medicare ID number or other personally identifiable information.
  • Beware of dishonest brokers who offer “free health screenings.” Some brokers off this to weed out people who are less health. This is called “cherry picking” and is against the Medicare rules.
  • Guard your government-issued numbers. Never offer your Medicare ID number, Social Security number, health plan info, or banking information to anyone you don’t know.
  • Hang up and go to official websites. You can enroll or re-enroll in Medicare a Medicare.gov or in a marketplace health plan at Healthcare.gov

If you are unsure whether a call or offer is from Medicare, or you gave your personal information to someone claiming to be with Medicare, call 1-800-MEDICARE to report it. 

If you suspect fraud when signing up for ACA coverage, go to Healthcare.gov or call the Health Insurance Marketplace call center at 800-318-2596

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