|by Beverly Scroggins,|
Community Services Director
The VantAge Point Area Agency on Aging
The Area Agency on Aging has received several calls recently from seniors who have been contacted by telephone from people (in some cases it was a man) stating that they are with Medicare. Those phoned are being told by the callers that they want to make appointments to come to their houses to explain new changes in Medicare benefits to them. They also are asking for personal information that should never be given out over the telephone. Hang up on them.
One lady already had made an appointment, but after hearing the warning on TV, she called me. I was able to go to her house and speak to the agent directly and find out more about what he was selling.
It seems to be that, although not classified as a scam or fraud, the marketing and sales tactics being used are misleading, causing people to make changes in their Medicare coverage before making careful comparisons.
The calls are being made from a company that sells Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans that apply to people with certain health conditions. The plan may or may not be best for them. Each person's situation is unique. Medicare Advantage Plans are managed care plans (HMOs, PPOs, Fee-for-Service, and Special Needs).
Our office has been in contact with Medicare and is pursuing investigation of this issue.
Consider these reminders for any senior you know:
- Medicare NEVER makes calls to set up appointments for someone to come to their house
- If they are on the Missouri No-call List, they should not be called - file a complaint with the office of the attorney general here.
- They should NEVER make an immediate decision, but should take time to carefully compare plans
- If they have both Medicare and Medicaid, they should NOT change to any Medicare Advantage Plan, because Missouri Medicaid DOES NOT pay for Advantage Plans. If they change, they will be responsible for any premiums, deductibles, and co-pays.
I feel like I am giving you my entire hour-long presentation, but when I get on my soap box about seniors getting snookered into something that may cost them money, it is hard for me to stop!
I can be reached at (417) 627-0600.