Turning 65? Beware Medicare-related junk mail.

If you are turning 65 in the next four months, you are getting lots of mail from Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare supplement companies. Not all of this mail is junk, but some pieces have some questionable information in them.

Anne is turning 65 in June. She showed me some of the materials she has received in the mail. She asked me if she needed to respond to one particular card that said,

“Updates to the Medicare program could affect you. Many seniors may be faced with health care and prescription drug cost increases this year. Now more than ever, it’s important for you to understand how this update can impact your situation.”

Then the mailing offers “FREE Information” if you “return the card below“.

The free information is a government publication titled “Choosing a Medigap Plan”. In small print at the bottom of the card it says an agent will be contacting you “regarding this solicitation of insurance...”.

If you send in the card to get the free information, you are giving permission for someone to contact you, even if you are on the federal “Do Not Call List”.  You will get a call.

Or you might get a knock at your door.

Roger is turning 65 soon. It just so happens that Roger is an insurance agent working in the Medicare market. He showed me a letter he got from an independent insurance agent and said he had not responded to it. Yesterday he got a knock at his door.  It was the insurance agent who had sent him the letter!  Roger asked the agent what she was doing at his door, and she said she was following up on the letter she had sent him. Wow!

Apparently it is okay for insurance agents to do “door knocking” if they are selling Medicare supplements. But that agent should not talk about Medicare Advantage or Part D if she is allowed in the house.  Going to someone’s house uninvited is totally against Medicare rules when it comes to Medicare Advantage and Part D.

Roger is an independent insurance broker who follows all the Medicare rules. He would never show up at someone’s door uninvited, and he was shocked to have this agent turn up at his door. He wasn’t sure what he should do about it. Should he complain to Medicare?  When he told his story to a group of brokers, who also follow all the Medicare rules, none of us knew if he had grounds for a complaint.

For folks who are turning 65, Medicare choices are confusing enough on their own. When you throw in misleading mailings and unethical insurance agents, it makes for an even more complicated situation.  By the way, the insurance agents I know are ethical, and they would never show up at someone’s house uninvited.

To see a short video presentation on your Medicare choices, click here.

What Next?

Related Articles

5 Responses to "Turning 65? Beware Medicare-related junk mail."

  1. Mark says:

    Denise –

    You posted, “…For folks who are turning 65, Medicare choices are confusing enough on their own. When you throw in misleading mailings and unethical insurance agents, it makes for an even more complicated situation. By the way, the insurance agents I know are ethical, and they would never show up at someone’s house uninvited.”

    I solicit seniors all of the time through unannounced cold-calling and door knocking. And I a assure you I am 1000% ethical and compliant with Medicare statutes and laws, both state and federal.

    First, there is nothing “unethical” soliciting seniors at the door to discuss the changes in the Medicare laws, whether invited or not. As you correctly pointed out, Medicare choices are confusing, even for the initiated. So I value what I do in seeking to demystify the Medicare leviathon and explain to seniors, in everyday terms, what has happened, how it affects them… in matters of actual costs and potential future costs and present ways to help them offset and avoid known Medicare landmines…as well as potential future ones (i.e. DRG group classifications that begin to include SNF).

    Now may’be you see that as unethical, along with your agent friends. What I see in your statement is an agent who is lazy and only goes after low-hanging fruit and has no mettle to educate the uneducated. I cannot tell you how many times through uninvited door knocking, I have had seniors thanking me for informing them of what was going on and presenting the pitfalls that could befall them. Yes, this has resulted in sales but not always. But the point first and foremost is education.

    I guess in your world unless people have responded to your mailer or other advertising mechanism, they must be “all set” and not in need of porfessional assistance.

    Might go get my NRL and make some money on my next vacation in AZ if that is the attitude of you and your “agent” friends.

    Laughable.

  2. Denise says:

    I’ll have to look up the Medicare Marketing guidelines, which clearly state that it is against their rules to cold call seniors.

  3. Mark says:

    Denise –

    Are you cold calling seniors that have responded to a BRC with a signature and phone number?
    I think not.

  4. Denise says:

    Nope. I rely on referrals and people finding me on the internet. Plenty of insurance agents are cold calling people. I have talked this month to about ten people who are turning 65 and they all said they had gotten calls from insurance agents. No business reply cards were involved.

  5. Lauren says:

    Any advice for someone who is being inundated with Medicare mailings yet not even close to turning 65?! I’m not even 40 yet I’ve recently started receiving a ridiculous amount of Medicare junk mail. How do I remove my name and address from the marketing lists that drive these mailings.

Leave a Reply

Submit Comment