New York State
James J. Wrynn Superintendent of Insurance 25 Beaver Street New York, N.Y. 10004
|ISSUED 11/09/2009||FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
Insurance Superintendent James Wrynn today warned senior citizens to protect themselves against high-pressure and misleading sales tactics sometimes aimed at seniors during Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug plan open enrollment periods.
Open enrollment runs from November 15 through December 31 each year. During this time, beneficiaries may change prescription drug plans, change Medicare Advantage plans, return to original Medicare, or enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time. Enrollment changes take effect on January 1.
“Most insurance agents and brokers are reputable, but there have been far too many cases where senior citizens have been targeted by unscrupulous sales people using misleading practices. Agents and brokers will face fines and possible revocations of their licenses if they engage in improper sales practices,” Wrynn said.
Wrynn urged senior citizens to keep in mind the following guidelines:
Senior citizens who suspect they have been subjected to improper sales practices should contact the Insurance Department, the New York State Office for the Aging, or their local Health Insurance Information Counseling and Assistance Program (HIICAP).
Detailed information about Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug plans may be obtained directly from Medicare by contacting 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), or www.medicare.gov, 24 hours a day, seven days a week for assistance.
Consumers with general insurance questions may 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.
Consumers wishing to file complaints are encouraged to use the electronic complaint form on the Department’s website, or by writing the Consumer Services Bureau, NYS Insurance Department, 25 Beaver St., New York, NY 10004-2319. Consumers with questions about how to file a complaint may call the Department at 800-342-3736 or 212-480-6400.