Recently, an Illinois resident received a letter titled “Medicare Information Update” that asked for his and his spouse’s date of birth and phone number. The letter said: “As of January 1st, Medicare has made changes that affect you and your health care expenses… meaning that you must pay even more towards your own health care.” The recipient of this letter did not respond because he knew that Medicare already has his information and does not contact beneficiaries in this way.
This letter is a type of marketing tool, known as a lead generator, which collects people’s names, phone numbers, and other information for a salesperson to follow up on. These lead generators often contain a notice in smaller print that it is not affiliated with any government agency or Medicare. This particular letter also had small print that said a representative may call. If you choose to return these cards, you will likely receive calls trying to sell you something.
The product being sold in this lead generator is Medicare Supplement Insurance or “Medigap.” Medigap is a private insurance plan that you can buy to help cover Medicare premiums, deductibles, and co-insurance costs. An insurance agent might call if you return the letter. The letter is accurate in saying that Medicare costs changed on January 1st, but the change that happened is just a cost of living adjustment to monthly premiums that happens every year and is a normal part of Medicare.
There is free, unbiased information available about Medigap plans from the Illinois Department on Aging’s Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP). SHIP has counselors that can help you choose a plan that is right for you. For a referral to a counselor near you call DuPage County Senior Services 800-942-9412 or the Department on Aging (800) 252-8966.
Downers Grove Township Senior Services
Phone – (630) 719-6682
Fight The Bite
4340 Prince Street
Downers Grove, IL 60515
Main (630) 719-6600
Mon - Fri, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm