What is a Medicare Open Enrollment Inquiry Card

AprilSun

Well-known member
Location
USA
Can someone explain what this is and if it's legitimate. I am pushing 65 and today, I received in the mail what is called a "Medicare Open Enrollment Inquiry Card". They tell me I have "only one open enrollment period" and then I am suppose to fill it out and mail it back in. They want my Name, date of birth, spouse and his date of birth, and phone number. Plus, I am suppose to check the box that states: YES, Also send me information on prescription discounts. Then I am suppose to mail it back to SD Reply Center PO Box 2528, Rockwall TX 75087-9973. Is this something I really need to do or is it some company trying to get my information to sell me insurance, etc.? I am satisfied with the insurance I have now so I am not going to change. Any help is appreciated. Thanks!
 

QuickSilver

New member
Location
Midwest
I've never received on of those.. Maybe it's in case you want to give up your traditional Medicare in favor of an Advantage plan? I'm sure someone else will know.
 

Glinda

Well-known member
I am also 64 and I've been receiving tons of solicitations from insurance companies wanting to sell me a Medigap policy or an Advantage policy. It is probably a solicitation. I would not take kindly to their method and would not return the card.
 

AZ Jim

Well-known member
They are mining for information. Call SS and ask the procedure for signing up. Don't respond to these mail solicitations.
 

NancyNGA

Well-known member
Location
Georgia
It's a scam. Read carefully the small print. You will find it's not affiliated with Medicare. Likely a marketing company paid to collect information for an insurance company, trying to get your business.
 

QuickSilver

New member
Location
Midwest
Since I was not already collecting my SS when I turned 65, I had to go to the SS office and sign up for Medicare.. PART A.. (which is free). I deferred taking PART B as I am still working.

It's my understanding that if you are collecting SS before the age of 65 you automatically get an PART A medicare card sent to you.. but you have to fill out a form and send back for PART B..and the premium will be deducted from your SS check.
 

AprilSun

Well-known member
Location
USA
Original Poster
Thank you everyone! I suspected it was someone wanting my business but I thought I should find out for sure. I thought I would ask people that could have gone through this before. I also did a google search and finally, after I had asked you here, I found something that confirmed my suspicions. It read just like this that I got and it was an insurance company not Medicare. They made this thing look so real even down to the envelope that they sent it in. My husband had gotten mail from Medicare before that was from them and it was in an envelope just like this one. I wasn't going to fill anything out until I knew for sure that it was from Medicare but now that it's not, it will be shredded. Thanks again!
 

SeaBreeze

Endlessly Groovin'
Location
USA
My husband needs to apply for Medicare soon, and we get load of junk mail trying to sell insurance from various companies. We've had Kaiser for over thirty years now, so plan to use them for any desired advantage plan for no cost. Most of that mail goes straight to the trash in my house.
 

Ken N Tx

Older than Dirt !
Location
Texas
It's a scam. Read carefully the small print. You will find it's not affiliated with Medicare. Likely a marketing company paid to collect information for an insurance company, trying to get your business.
Thank you everyone! I suspected it was someone wanting my business but I thought I should find out for sure. I thought I would ask people that could have gone through this before. I also did a google search and finally, after I had asked you here, I found something that confirmed my suspicions. It read just like this that I got and it was an insurance company not Medicare. They made this thing look so real even down to the envelope that they sent it in. My husband had gotten mail from Medicare before that was from them and it was in an envelope just like this one. I wasn't going to fill anything out until I knew for sure that it was from Medicare but now that it's not, it will be shredded. Thanks again!
Look at the post mark (the stamp area)..Most all solicitors are sent in bulk and say"Presort" in that area.
 

AprilSun

Well-known member
Location
USA
Original Poster
Look at the post mark (the stamp area)..Most all solicitors are sent in bulk and say"Presort" in that area.
The "stamp area" says: PRSRT STD, U. S. Postage, Paid, Dallas, TX, Permit 1118 in this order.

That looks like it is "presort" if I'm not misunderstanding the PRSRT part. Correct me if I'm wrong but either way, I'm ignoring them.
 

MJC-56

New member
Location
Florida
That is a solicitation. The Government does not send you mail asking for personal data. Your Medicare enrollment is done via www.socialsecurity.gov .
The only law on this is that they are not allowed to make it look like it came from the U.S. Government / Medicare.
 

Silver Hawk

New member
SD Reply Center scam

Are there not legal consequences for the scammers at "SD Reply Center, PO Box 2528 in Rockwall TX 75087-9891? It would seem they should be subject to fraud given their blatant attempt to masquerade as having anything to do with US government medicare and senior services. Many seniors will be hoodwinked by the deceptive official looking mailings, and likely not to notice the fine print stating that they are not connected with any government agency. Such pretentious business practices are shamefully unethical and should be outlawed. Such mailings should be required to have bold-standout type at the top of the message clearly stating that this is a private for-profit business solicitation having nothing to do with federal or state senior services. Similar notice should be prominently displayed on every page so no one can be led astray and scammed. Does anyone know of any federal or state laws as such, or any organization or elected official working on establishing these?

The "stamp area" says: PRSRT STD, U. S. Postage, Paid, Dallas, TX, Permit 1118 in this order.

That looks like it is "presort" if I'm not misunderstanding the PRSRT part. Correct me if I'm wrong but either way, I'm ignoring them.
 

MJC-56

New member
Location
Florida
medicare Laws

Are there not legal consequences for the scammers at "SD Reply Center, PO Box 2528 in Rockwall TX 75087-9891? It would seem they should be subject to fraud given their blatant attempt to masquerade as having anything to do with US government medicare and senior services. Many seniors will be hoodwinked by the deceptive official looking mailings, and likely not to notice the fine print stating that they are not connected with any government agency. Such pretentious business practices are shamefully unethical and should be outlawed. Such mailings should be required to have bold-standout type at the top of the message clearly stating that this is a private for-profit business solicitation having nothing to do with federal or state senior services. Similar notice should be prominently displayed on every page so no one can be led astray and scammed. Does anyone know of any federal or state laws as such, or any organization or elected official working on establishing these?
What you are referring to is a big problem across the country. Each state has to deal with it on their own. Many states are actively warning all registered, licensed agents that deceiving the public into thinking you may be affiliated with Medicare or are an Advocate group and not an insurance rep is fraud. I don't know the specific laws, but show what you have to your state department of insurance. I am certain they would be interested.
 

Silver Hawk

New member
Thank you for your swift reply MJC-56. I'll check with my state and representatives as you suggest. It would seem, given the interstate nature of these mailings however, that there must be federal laws enacted to halt this. Otherwise, fraudulent outfits can continue to solicit across state lines, unduly complicating and confounding any attempts by varied outside states to hold them legally accountable. If naught else, Texas, where "SD reply Center" states they are based, should serve a legal complaint for fraud on this business venture.

What you are referring to is a big problem across the country. Each state has to deal with it on their own. Many states are actively warning all registered, licensed agents that deceiving the public into thinking you may be affiliated with Medicare or are an Advocate group and not an insurance rep is fraud. I don't know the specific laws, but show what you have to your state department of insurance. I am certain they would be interested.
 

RustyatMMC

New member
Location
North Carolina
This is pretty common in the insurance industry. As far as being a scam, I doubt it. It's either an agency, call center, or "lead house" trying to get you to send in the request to get "free information about Medicare."

If it's an agency/agent sending it, you would likely get a call one agent/broker.
If it's a lead house, it could be sold to several agents (3-10), so expect your phone to start ringing and possible someone showing up at your front door.
If it's a call center, expect your phone to explode with phone calls for various numbers.
At worst, it could be a scam, but I seriously doubt it.

Although I don't do this type of marketing, there are plenty who do. They are trying to get you to return the card so they can contact you about either medicare supplement plans or medicare advantage plans.

If you want to see what these mailers look like, just google "direct mail medicare supplement lead example" or "direct mail final expense examples." Most mail houses who send these out have examples on their websites.

Here is my advice if you care to read a bit more:

Don't fill anything out that looks generic. Anything for Social Security will have their logo on it. Anything from Medicare will have the CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) on it. THe mail piece can be vague, but it CAN NOT impersonate a Federal agency. If you are not sure, call Social Security at 800-772-1213 or Medicare at 800-633-4227. If it looks generic, I would likely toss it.

If you want to learn what you need to know about Medicare, read these pdf's from the government.
https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/02110-Medicare-Medigap.guide.pdf - or just Google "Choosing a Medigap Policy {insert year}".
https://www.medicare.gov/pubs/pdf/10050-Medicare-and-You.pdf - or google "Medicare and You {year}"

When it comes to picking a plan, talk to a broker who represents many companies. There is no cost to work with them. The amount the company pays the broker is included in your premium, either the company pays the broker or the company keeps it themselves. You don't get a discount by going with the company direct. You actually lose out, because I can guarantee the company rep you go direct with will never call you back and let you know their competitor has a better deal. If your broker is worth anything, he/she will.

For the most part, brokers (like any profession, there are bad one out there too) are good people who want to help you get the best deal at the best rate. They save you tons of time and money. Who want to spend hours shopping rates, comparing coverage, calling companies for info? They help with your Part D reviews. When the rate of the company gets too high, a simple call to your broker can quickly review all the options and help you find a lower rate if possible.

I get referrals all the time from people who did it on their own when they first started Medicare. A lady in TN signed up direct with a big carrier 4 years ago. My client referred her and we reviewed her coverage. We moved her to another A rated company, and she saved $1,013 a year...with the exact same coverage. I don't say this to brag, but just to let you know that brokers can really help you in a time where controlling expenses is important.

Although I am not on here often, I am happy to answer any questions. I hope this was helpful.
Rusty
 

RustyatMMC

New member
Location
North Carolina
Rusty, or whoever knows, does a broker charge a fee for giving a rate comparison?

Great question and I get this often. The short answer is "no." If the person is charging you a fee to enroll you in to a Medicare plan, you need to find someone else to work with.


Here is the long answer if you have a minute...


As brokers, we contract with many of the companies so that we can provide a "one stop" shop for our clients. We typically don't contract with some of the less competitive companies, because there is no reason to have the 29th least expensive company in your bag of offerings. As a broker, it's in my interest to offer you the least expensive plan, with strong benefits, and with a strong financial company. If I don't recommend the least expensive, I better have a reason for why I recommended something different. It's in my interest to educate you on why, because if I signed you up for one of the most expensive plans, the next broker you talk to would be happy to help you find a lower rate with another company. I lose a client and potentially have a client who is not pleased with my service. People tend to share a "bad" experience more so than a "good" experience.


I need to educate you on why we went with a particular company and/or why we didn't go with another company. Here is an example. Say a new company in the market might be really low balling their entry premium, only to blow up in premiums a year or two later. Brokers want to protect you against that possibility. They don't want to expose a client to that. That leads to a client who might not be happy. Happy clients refer people, which is the best and least expensive ways for us to get new clients.


As for how we are paid, we are compensated by the company the client chooses. The amount we are paid is built into the premium the client pays and most companies pay us a similar amount. The company will either pay the broker that portion or simply keep it as part of their profit. The insurance company considers that portion part of their marketing expense.


Here is a situation we face often. Someone take 1-2 hours of time while you run rates, educate them on how Medicare works, even show them how they can save money by using a company the individual did not consider. Individual wants to time to think about it, which is understandable. The broker calls them back only to find out they have already enrolled with somebody from the company the broker recommended. I think this comes from the thought that people believe brokers are like salaried employees of the company. That is not the case, brokers are 1099 contractors. Brokers are only paid when you enroll through them.


The company would LOVE you to get rates from a broker, then call them direct to enroll. The broker is out time and money in educating the individual. The company is happy because they don't have to pay the broker for the work he/she did.


Here are two places you lose out by not using a broker:


1 - Saving you time: Most brokers use some sort of quoting software that will compare all the plans (up to 35 different companies in one place). That saves you time and effort of calling around shopping. It also helps later when you get a rate increase. You can call your broker and they can shop your rate again at no charge.


2 - No one from your direct company will ever call to tell you another company has a better deal. They want you to stay with them and keep paying the higher premiums. A broker will reach out to you. They are trying to protect their business by making sure the client is still getting the lowest cost possible.


2.5 - You have one person to call with questions.


Did I mention it doesn't cost you anything to work with a broker?


Thanks for reading this and I hope it helps you get a better understanding of the benefits of working with a broker. I hope this doesn't sound like I am complaining because I love this type of work. It's rewarding to help someone free up money in their budget, but still maintaining the same coverage they had. Like everyone else, you like the opportunity to share what it's like from your side once in a while.
Rusty
 

Butterfly

Well-known member
I worked with a broker when I was looking for private insurance back when I was 60. My company did not provide insurance and when my husband was gone I was left with no insurance. I was SO happy to find a broker to work with, because I was going cross-eyed trying to compare benefits, deductibles, premiums, etc. and trying to figure out which company would actually PAY their claims, especially after a major carrier rejected me for having "a history of fractures" (I broke my arm when I was about 35 and was otherwise in excellent health).

A friend recommended a broker to me, and she as able to find me good coverage at a decent price (that was in 2005, before the balloon in premiums). She did a lot better for me than I could have done for myself, and it didn't cost me anything to use her services. I subsequently referred several other folks to her.
 

GreenSky

Active member
Location
Las Vegas
I have done and occasionally do direct mail to people about to be or already are on Medicare. At the bottom of each mail piece it says "Not affiliated with Medicare nor any government agency. Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorses this information. Licensed insurance agent Richard Bronstein will contact you."

As far as the text, it is very generic. It may be about saving money on a Medicare supplement or added benefits of a Medicare Advantage plan. But the mailings are quite general and are designed not to deceive. I have seen some pretty blatantly illegal mailings but usually neither the feds nor the states do anything about them.

Rick
 


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