** Consumer Advisory ** Attorney General Warns Seniors About Medicare Drug Coverage Marketing

(Phoenix, Ariz. – Sept. 21, 2005)  Attorney General Terry Goddard today warned Arizona seniors about improper marketing of Part D Medicare Drug Coverage. This prescription drug plan will be added to Medicare coverage beginning in January 2006.

Goddard said some insurance agents who work for Medicare Advantage Plans are actively and aggressively recruiting new members. They are holding out the promise that if people sign up now,they will have prescription drug coverage next year, and if they don’t, they will lose their AHCCCS or lose their chance for a drug benefit. 

“Don’t believe them,” Goddard said.  “These insurance agents are trying to use fear of losing benefits to sign up new clients.  The reality is that enrollment in Part D doesn’t begin until November.”

Medicare guidelines require providers to hold off marketing their products until October 1, 2005, and not begin enrollment until November 15, 2005.

Goddard offers the following information about Medicare Part D advertising:

  • Medicare prescription drug plans will have a “Medicare Approved” seal on their materials.
  • People who work for Medicare:
    • Cannot come to your home uninvited to sell or endorse any Medicare-related product.
    • Cannot enroll you in a drug plan or ask you to pay for a drug plan over the telephone, unless you are adding prescription drug coverage to a current Medicare plan.
    • Cannot ask for payment over the Internet. The plan must send you a bill if you enroll over the Web.

If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, please contact the Attorney General's Office in Phoenix at 602.542.5763; in Tucson at 520.628.6504; or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at 1.800.352.8431.  Consumers can also file complaints online by visiting the Attorney General's Web site at www.azag.gov.