The Medicare Rx Education Network is urging Medicare beneficiaries to pay close attention to mail and phone calls they receive about the new Medicare prescription-drug benefit.
As people in Medicare receive information about various prescription-drug plans, they can help make sure they are dealing with a legitimate, Medicare-approved plan - rather than a scam artist - by remembering these important facts:
• The Medicare prescription-drug program is voluntary, not required.
• Private companies will offer Medicare prescription-drug plans, not the government.
• It's illegal for companies or organizations to sell Medicare drug plans door-to-door or via unsolicited e-mail.
• Legitimate programs will ask for your Social Security number only when you are actually enrolling in a Medicare prescription-drug plan. You won't be asked for your credit-card or bank-account information unless you plan to make automatic payments for your drug coverage from that account.
Seniors recently began receiving plan-related material from several sources. These include private insurance companies offering Medicare-approved plans, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and beneficiaries' current prescription-drug insurance providers. Scam artists could take advantage of the situation and attempt to recruit seniors to join false plans.
The six-month open-enrollment window for Medicare's Part D prescription-drug benefit began on Nov. 15.
For more information about the Medicare prescription-drug benefit, beneficiaries can call 1-800-MEDICARE or log on to: www.medicare.gov .