For seniors that are trying to do the right thing by enrolling for their 2019 Medicare plan,  scammers are making it more difficult to make the right choice.

For those that are already enrolled in a Medicare and a Medicare Part D plan, you don’t have to do anything. But it’s wise to check into the choices you have for next year.

For those that are signing up for the first time or switching plans in 2019, it's good to study the material that should have been sent in the mail according to Rona McNally, Director of the Missouri Senior Medical Patrol. (SMP)

In a press release from the SMP, it's noted that Medicare Open Enrollment can bring out the fraudsters, and beneficiaries may get inundated with sales pitches. Fraud schemes often depend on identity thieves getting ahold of people’s Medicare numbers. “That’s why you must guard your Medicare number. Don’t share your Medicare number with anyone who contacts you by telephone, email or in person,” McNally advised.

Most Medicare health plan marketing materials that you receive in the mail are legitimate promotions to educate you on the options. However, don’t automatically return postcards requesting more information. And, make certain to report suspicious activity.

Look for plan information on the Medicare.gov Plan Finder. You can compare the plans online. If you need help, you may call the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) to find a trained counselor who can help you with a one-on-one appointment. That number is (800) 390-3330.

As always, report suspected Medicare fraud or abuse to the Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol at (888)515-6565.

Gunnar Pippel