For Americans under the age of 65, March 31, 2014 is an important date. That’s because that is the date most uninsured Americans need to become insured under the Affordable Care Act. That could make things a bit confusing over the next few weeks as government organizations and private health companies ramp up their efforts to get that message to the uninsured and get them signed up.
For those on Medicare or those who should be on Medicare or those that could be on Medicare, the March 31 deadline doesn’t pertain to you so please don’t visit the Health Insurance Marketplace. Insurance companies and insurance agents are not allowed to sell you insurance plans through the Marketplace if they know you have Medicare. You cannot get Traditional Medicare coverage, Medicare Part D drug plans, nor Medicare Advantage plans through the Marketplace. However, if you drop your current Medicare plans so that you can sign up on the Marketplace, you are likely to suffer the consequences of having to pay a penalty, will have to wait for premium enrollment periods to sign up and therefore are in jeopardy of being uncovered for a period of time.
If you are thinking of dropping your Medicare coverage for any reason, speak to a Social Security Administration agent at 800-772-1213 or by going to your local Social Security office.
For information on your Medicare benefits, contact 800 Medicare or go online and visit http://www.medicare.gov/.
Because the Health Insurance Marketplace is so new, people can get confused about what does or doesn’t pertain to them and the date can cause a sense of urgency to exist. Here is a list of some of the latest scams associated with the Health Insurance Marketplace:
- Health care cards: Affordable health care cards don’t exist but that isn’t stopping sales people from contacting individuals to sell them the cards. Those that target the elderly are telling them that the new law requires them to replace their Medicare cards. That’s not true either.
- E-mail scams: The penalty for not signing up for insurance (again only if you are not under 65) is a fine but there are some very realistic-looking e-mails out there telling folks that if they don’t sign up they can go to jail. Although, scam e-mails aren’t limited to the new law they have one thing in common and that is they ask you for personal information via e-mail (such as a Social Security number). If you weren’t expecting to hear anything from the government via an e-mail, don’t open the e-mails.
- Fake navigators: Navigators are the folks that the government hired to help people with applying for insurance. What the real navigators will never ask for are: financial information or personal information such as your Social Security number. They won’t contact consumers by going door-to-door, calling or e-mailing them.
If you have questions about Medicare coverage, call firstname.lastname@example.org for white papers on:
- Medigap (Medicare supplement insurance)
- Medicare Advantage
- Medigap versus Medicare Advantage
- Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Plan)
- Traditional Medicare Benefits (do you need Medicare if you are still covered through work or spouse’s work plans)