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If you’re approaching retirement age and trying to learn more about Medicare and Medigap, then you may be looking for someone to help you understand your choices, what your plan options are and how to buy insurance from private vendors. While there are many honest people who can help you figure out all of the intricacies of Medicare and Medigap, there are also a lot of people who will deliberately give you false information for their own profit. This is the unfortunate truth of mixing seniors, insurance and confusing government policies. Here are some common illegal practices to watch out for in your search for help:
- Someone pressuring you into buying a Medigap policy or pressuring you into switching from one insurance company or policy to another.
- Someone trying to sell you a second Medigap policy knowing that you already have one in place, one for which you have not yet sent a cancellation letter to your insurance company.
- Someone trying to sell you a Medigap insurance policy if they know you actually have Medicaid.
- Someone trying to sell you a Medigap policy if they know you have Medicare Advantage – unless your Medicare Advantage Plan will end before your Medigap policy begins.
- Someone claiming that Medigap is a federal program or that it is part of the Medicare program. Medigap is private insurance.
- Someone telling you that the Medicare Advantage Plan is a type of Medigap insurance.
- Someone selling you any type of Medigap insurance that can’t be legally sold in your state. In Texas, call the Texas Department of Insurance at (800) 578-4677 to find out which policies you can legally buy.
- Someone misusing the names of the federal agencies involved in health care – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – to try to get you to purchase their insurance. For example, it is illegal for someone to tell you that their policy has the stamp of approval of Medicare.
- Someone who works for a private insurance company selling Medigap policies identifying himself as a representative of Medicare or some other federal agency.
- Someone selling you a Medicare Advantage Plan when you actually want to purchase Medigap. If you purchase Medicare Advantage, you will be disenrolled from Medicare and you won’t be able to purchase a Medigap policy.
As much as we’d like to think life gets easier as we get older, some things actually get harder and figuring out health care is one of those things. If you need help understanding Medigap and how it can help you to pay your medical bills, call us at The Benefit Link Inc at (877) 805-2952 or visit us online at www.thebenefitlink.com.
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