BBB: Scammers taking advantage of open enrollment period for Medicare, ACA


EAST PROVIDENCE R.I. (WPRI) — If you’re planning on signing up for health care coverage during this year’s open enrollment period, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) says you should also be cautious.

The open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) started Monday and runs through Jan. 15, while Medicare enrollment began last month and runs through Dec. 7.

The open enrollment period, according to the BBB, is not only a time when people select their health insurance for the upcoming year, but also a time when scammers come out of the woodwork to try and trick people out of money and personal information.

The BBB’s Paula Fleming said scams connected to health insurance have already been reported in New England. She said people have received unsolicited phone calls and messages offering enrollment assistance.

“A lot of people are left with a lot of questions on what [Medicare and ACA] involves and the process, and rightfully so,” Fleming explained. “So, of course scammers are taking advantage of this.”

Fleming said the majority of the unsolicited calls and messages reported involved the victim providing money or personal information directly to the scammer.

“You are not going to receive a phone call that offers to walk you through the process if you provide your Social Security number over the phone,” Fleming said.

To avoid falling victim to this scheme, Fleming offered the following tips:

  • Be cautious of any unsolicited messages or calls
  • Don’t accept promotional gifts for personal information
  • Protect your government-issued numbers

“There are always going to be people praying on individuals that lack the education and knowledge, but are trying to do their best to educate themselves,” Fleming said.

Fleming said scammers are also targeting people who are already enrolled by asking if they need help making changes to their current plan. Scammers may also claim they can enroll the victim in a plan that’s better than the one they’re already signed up for.

Anyone who receives an unsolicited phone call regarding open enrollment is urged to hang up and instead visit or for official information.

For over-the-phone assistance with open enrollment or if you’re worried you’ve fallen victim to a scam, call 1-800-MEDICARE or contact the Health Insurance Marketplace call center at 1-800-318-2596.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



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