Medicare shoppers are urged to be alert for deceptive advertising and offers

A recent federal law change has many Minnesota seniors shopping this fall for new Medicare plans for 2019, and they may also be getting more mailings and sales solicitations with offers of Medicare coverage.

The Minnesota Commerce Department, which regulates the insurance industry in the state, is urging seniors and their family members to be alert for confusing or deceptive advertising and sales offers.

When reviewing Medicare plan sales information or researching online, it is important to know what information is from Medicare, what is from a legitimate insurance company or agent, and what might just be from a scam artist trying to steal your money.

The 2019 Medicare Open Enrollment period continues through Dec. 7. To help seniors protect themselves as they shop, the Commerce Department offers the following tips:

• When looking for Medicare on the Internet, make
sure you go to the official
website at Medicare.gov.
Don’t be fooled by private
websites with similar addresses such as Medicare.
com, Medicare.org and
Medicare.net.
• Read the fine print and
don’t be deceived by appearances. Some advertisements and sales materials
may look like they are from
Medicare. If it is misleading
in appearance, it may also

be misleading in what it is
really offering.
• Do not believe any agent
who claims to work for
Medicare, or any advertising that claims to offer
plans “sponsored” or “endorsed” by Medicare.
• Hang up on any phone

calls, either live or recorded, trying to sell you a
Medicare plan. Insurance
companies and agents are
not permitted to make unsolicited Medicare-related
calls.
• Contact Minnesota’s
Senior LinkAge Line, which

is authorized by Medicare
to provide free, comprehensive, unbiased assistance
to help you understand
your Medicare choices. The
toll-free phone number is
1-800-333-2433.
If you receive a Medicare
advertisement or sales

solicitation that you think is
deceptive, misleading or a
scam, report it to the Minnesota Commerce Department by email at consumer.
protection@state.mn.us or
by phone at 651-539-1600
or 1-800-657-3602 (Greater
Minnesota).

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