By Kelly Griese
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
It’s open enrollment season. For my fellow State of Indiana workers, that means lots of email reminders from the State Personal Department (SPD) and your office HR director. Today (November 18) at noon is the open enrollment deadline for state employees. Here are some suggested action items from SPD, as they appeared in The Torch newsletter.
- Confirm or update personal information.
- If you wish to drop your insurance coverage you need to select “waive.”
- If you are eligible for the 2021 Wellness Premium Discount, your premium will automatically be reduced on which ever medical plan you select.
- Review your eligible dependents and beneficiaries.
- Check your current elections or make new elections.
- If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA), you need to enter your annual contribution amount.
- If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you need to re-elect or re-state your annual contribution amount.
- If you have a Commuter Reimbursement Account, your contribution will continue for 2021, unless you waive the coverage.
- Review the Non-Tobacco Use Agreement and accept or decline the agreement for 2021.
- Print an Election Summary after you have submitted your elections.
If you need help making last minute updates to your benefits, call the Benefits Hotline at 317-232-1167 or toll-free at 877-248-0007.
Medicare Open Enrollment Period
It’s also open enrollment season for Medicare. During this enrollment period, which ends December 7, Medicare beneficiaries can choose the plans that are best for them. To review your Medicare plan options with a trained, unbiased counselor, contact Indiana’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) at 800-452-4800.
SHIP recommends comparing coverage options every year, because Medicare plans can change over time, and your needs can change too! One thing remains constant… and that’s manipulative salespersons and con artists.
It’s important for you to understand what sellers are and are NOT allowed to do, so you’ll be prepared if an insurance agent or representative tries to enroll you in a Medicare plan that isn’t right for you. Here are some tips from Senior Medicare Patrol that will help you protect yourself.
There are limits on how Medicare plans can contact beneficiaries. Medicare plans:
- Can’t call you if you don’t have a relationship with their company.
- Can’t send you email if you haven’t agreed to this form of contact.
- Can’t come to your home to sell Medicare products without an invitation.
- Can’t leave flyers, door hangers, or leaflets on your car or at your home. However, agents and brokers who have a scheduled appointment with you may leave plan information at your residence if you don’t show up for the appointment.
When you meet or talk with an agent, they:
- Can’t start a discussion about other insurance products, like life insurance annuities, if your meeting is about Medicare Part C or Part D.
- Can’t set their own time limits for you to sign up for a plan. You have until December 7 to enroll, and you can’t get any extra benefits for signing up early.
- Can’t threaten to take away your benefits if you don’t sign up for a plan or offer gifts if you do.
- Can’t suggest that Medicare endorses or prefers their plan.
- Can’t discuss Medicare products you didn’t ask to talk about when you filled out a scope of appointment form.
Once you’ve picked the plan that’s right for you, be sure you get all the details in writing before signing up. Take your time to read all information and verify details. For example, reach out to your doctors to ensure they are in that plan’s network.
If a Scammer Calls
Scammers might call and pretend to be Medicare representatives or agents in an attempt to steal your Medicare number. They can use fake caller identification to impersonate Medicare or another organization you know, so don’t trust the name displayed on your phone’s screen. If anyone calls and asks for your Medicare, Social Security, or bank or credit card information, hang up. A scammer can use your personal information to file false claims, sign you up for a plan to which you didn’t agree, or even steal your identity. A legitimate Medicare employee will always have your Medicare number on file. If you think you’ve experienced Medicare fraud or abuse, call Indiana Senior Medicare Patrol at 800-986-3505.
Making decisions about your benefits can seem overwhelming, especially if you are new to the process, but there are a lot of helpful, non-biased sources of information for you to consult. The links I provided can help guide you through the process.
The MoneyWise Matters blog has a wealth of information about managing money and avoiding fraud. You can look through the complete archive here.