Aubertine warns seniors of insurance Medicare scammers
Saturday, July 10, 2010 - 5:50 pm

State Sen. Darrel Aubertine is urging North Country senior citizens to take heed of the New York State Insurance Department’s warning about scammers trying to profit from Medicare rebates.

They are advising senior citizens not to give out personal information to anyone claiming they can deliver or speed up $250 rebates for Medicare Part D now available through federal health care reforms.

The one-time, tax-free rebate is being sent to eligible senior citizens to help them pay for the “doughnut hole”—the gap above the initial prescription drug coverage limit but below the point where catastrophic coverage begins. These checks will be coming directly through the federal government and not a third party.

“Too often we see con artists trying to take advantage of our senior citizens by stealing personal information,” Sen. Aubertine said. “Our seniors need to be aware that in other states there have been reports of people asking for personal information or an upfront fee to expedite these rebate checks. It’s important to remember never to give out bank account information, social security numbers or any other personal information. I want to thank the state Insurance Department for its efforts and local media for helping get the word out.”

Some states have reported that seniors are being contacted and asked for personal information such as their Social Security and bank account numbers. Some seniors have been told, falsely, that they can get their rebates faster by paying an upfront fee. Individuals enrolled in some private benefits plans or those enrolled in the Medicare Extra Help plan are not eligible.

Currently, Medicare beneficiaries whose drug costs reach $2,830 must pay all additional drug costs until their total out-of-pocket expenses reach $4,550 when coverage kicks in again.

Any seniors who suspect fraud should contact the Insurance Department's Consumer Services Bureau between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday toll-free at 800-342-3736. Information is also available on the Department's website, www.ins.state.ny.us.

Detailed information about the $250 rebate may be obtained directly from Medicare by contacting 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), or www.medicare.gov, at any time of the day or night.