MO Insurance Dept. warns of con artists during Medicare enrollment
October 3, 2011 at 5:47 PM CDT - Updated June 25 at 2:04 PM
(KFVS) - The Missouri Insurance Department is asking seniors, health care providers and others to be on the lookout for deceitful insurance agents during the upcoming Medicare open enrollment period from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.
Missouri Insurance Director John M. Huff and an official from Medicare have signed a letter to home health workers in the state asking them to report insurance agents and other salespeople who violate Medicare solicitation rules.
"The vast majority of licensed insurance agents in Missouri are honest and have their customers' best interests at heart," said Huff. "But as with any industry, there are bad actors seeking to take advantage of Missouri seniors. We must do all we can to prevent that, and we need the public's help."
The letter, sent to companies that provide in-home health services to Missourians, lists the following acceptable and forbidden sales practices for agents selling Medicare. Under those rules, agents cannot:
Claim to represent or be endorsed by Medicare
Solicit using unwanted e-mails, text messages or voice mails
Approach people in common areas like parking lots, hallways and sidewalks
Pitch products in health care settings like hospital waiting areas, exam rooms, patient rooms and pharmacy counters
Set up an appointment to discuss Medicare, then sell unrelated products like life insurance or annuities
The Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration says consumers should never release personal information, such as bank, credit card or social security numbers to anyone who contacts them by phone or e-mail.
Huff encourages consumers to try the CLAIM program, a free service funded by the Department of Insurance and Medicare, which gives one-on-one counseling for Missourians with Medicare.
Consumers can call 800-390-3330 or visit MissouriClaim.org.