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Medicare Open Enrollment


Medicare open enrollment offers an opportunity for you to evaluate your coverage options. Plans can change and it is important to review any notices regarding changes from that you receive from your insurance company. To join in a new plan, you can either enroll through Medicare or by calling the new plan. If you elect not to make any changes for the next coverage year, you do not need to do anything.

Open Enrollment begins on October 15th and ends on December 7th. This is the only time of the year when everyone on Medicare can makes changes to their coverage for the upcoming year. New coverage will begin on January 1.

MNsure, the new Health Insurance Marketplace

You may have questions about how MNsure, the new Health Insurance Marketplace might affect your coverage. MNsure is for people who don’t have health insurance already through a job or government program. This will not change any of your benefits or coverage. The enrollment periods for MNsure and Medicare do overlap, so you should make certain that any plans you are reviewing are Medicare plans and not through MNsure.

It is illegal for someone who knows that you have Medicare to sell you a plan through the marketplace. Since the enrollment periods overlap, this may invite more fraudulent activity. Bogus websites that purport to be part of the exchanges have been appearing online for more than a year. Do not enter any personal or financial information into a website that says you can purchase a policy before the open enrollment period.

New “Obamacare” Insurance or Medicare Cards

Another common ploy involves unsolicited calls from scammers who claim to have your new “Obamacare” insurance card – they just need to get some information before they can send it to you. The caller then asks for credit card numbers, bank account information or your Social Security number. A variation of this trick specifically targets seniors on Medicare; the caller claims that in order for them to get their new Medicare card and continue receiving their benefits, they must verify their bank account and routing numbers. Some callers ask for their Medicare numbers, which are identical to Social Security numbers. 

You are not required to obtain a new insurance or Medicare card under the ACA. Also, anyone who is a legitimate representative of the federal government will already have your personal and financial information and should not ask you to provide it.

Don't Be Misled

Here are some other important “red flags” to watch out for:
  • The salesperson says the premium offer is only good for a limited time. 
    • Enrollment in the exchanges will be open from Oct. 1 to March 31, and rates for plans in the exchanges will have been approved for the entire enrollment period. Be skeptical of someone who is trying to pressure you into buying a policy because the rate is only good for a short time. Remember: if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

  • The salesperson says you could go to jail for not having health insurance.
    • Starting in 2014, all Americans will be required to have health insurance. You will not face jail time if you do not purchase health insurance. However, those who remain uninsured and do not qualify for any exemptions will face a penalty of $95 (for each adult) or 1% of family income, whichever is greater. In 2015, the penalty will increase to $325 per adult or 2% of family income, and in 2016 and beyond, the penalty will be $695 per adult or 2.5% of family income.

  • You receive an unsolicited phone call or email from someone trying to sell insurance.
    • The federal government and state insurance departments will not be contacting individual consumers to sell them insurance. Do not give any sensitive information to anyone who claims to be with the federal government, your state insurance department or a navigator for your state’s exchange.  

Protect Yourself

The best way to protect yourself from insurance fraud is to research the agent and company you’re considering. Always STOP before writing a check, signing a contract or giving out personal information. CONFIRM that the agent and company are licensed to write insurance in Minnesota by using the License lookup tool