Volume 2 Number 47
November 21, 2005


Consumer Services HelpLine Number 800-342-2762






 

FLORIDA SENIORS URGED TO BEWARE OF SCAMS WHEN CHOOSING NEW MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION COVERAGE

One-Stop Shopping for Information and Resources Made Available 

Florida seniors with Medicare Part A or Part B coverage may now purchase prescription drug coverage under Medicare Part D and choose from nearly 20 plans offering a mix of deductibles, co-payments and levels of coverage.   

Tom Gallagher, Florida’s chief financial officer, reported that his department’s consumer helpline is getting calls from seniors looking for information on the new coverage.   Gallagher said he is concerned that scam artists may try to take advantage of seniors who are confused about their options and the enrollment process.  To assist seniors, Gallagher has created a free brochure that can be obtained by calling the Department of Financial Services at 1-800-342-2762 or by logging on to the department’s website at www.flseniors.net and click on “Medicare Rx Resources.” 

“I am deeply concerned that scam artists will exploit seniors interested in new options under Medicare,” said Gallagher.  “We will aggressively pursue those who attempt to rip off the elderly.  A senior’s best defense against fraud is knowledge.” CONTINUED

Gallagher said there are approximately three
million Medicare beneficiaries in Florida eligible for the new Part D coverage.  But he urged eligible seniors to seriously consider signing up for a Medicare plan unless they have existing coverage that is equal to the Medicare plan.  If an individual lacks coverage and doesn’t sign up during open enrollment, a penalty of as much as one-percent per month could be added to the monthly premium.   

Gallagher offered tips to seniors to avoid becoming victims of Medicare Part D scam artists: 

  • Beware of door-to-door salesmen. Agents cannot solicit business at your home.

  • Never give out personal information unless the person or the product is approved by Medicare.

  • Verify that the person and company you are dealing with are legitimate by calling the department at 1-800-342-2762.