FTC warns of open enrollment scams

FTC offers tips to protect money and personal information

2. Health care reform law stymied? -- Oh, the irony. Republicans want to defund health care reform in exchange for funding the government. But the health care act at the center of this storm would continue its implementation process during a shutdown. That's because its funds aren't dependent on the congressional budget process. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

As people across the country add and change their health care coverage during open enrollment season, the Federal Trade Commission is offering tips to protect your wallet and your personal information. 

Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Anyone who tries to sell you Medicare insurance while claiming to be an "official Medicare agent" is a scammer. There are no Medicare sales representatives.
  • Ignore anyone who says you must join a prescription drug plan to keep your Medicare coverage. The Medicare prescription drug plan (also known as Part D) is voluntary and has nothing to do with the rest of your Medicare coverage.
  • Never give information over the phone to someone who says they need it so you can keep your coverage. Hang up on anyone who asks for a quick payment, threatens you, or offers you free equipment or services in exchange for your information.
  • If you need help with Medicare, call 1-800-MEDICARE or go to Medicare.gov.
  • Looking for coverage under the Affordable Care Act, get information, compare plans, and enroll at HealthCare.gov. Check out the new Quality Ratings to see how plans compare to others in your state, based on member experience, medical care, and health plan administration.
  • Starting this year, you can also sign up for a plan directly through several certified partners. Make sure the company is on the approved list before giving them your information.
  • Need help? Call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 to ask a question, start or finish an application, compare plans, or enroll. Prefer to meet in person? Use the local assistance tool to find a list of people and organizations in your community who can help you – for free.
  • After you apply, you may get a call from the Marketplace asking you to verify or provide information. If you don't want to answer questions over the phone, ask the representative to mail you a letter with instructions for completing your application.

Anyone who spots a scam is asked to contact FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. If the scam is Medicare related, report it at 1-800-MEDICARE.