5 Ways to Become an Informed Medicare Consumer

By Marilyn Tavenner, Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

Each day, you make decisions about your finances, health, privacy, and more. It’s important to protect yourself and make the best choices for you, especially when it comes to your Medicare.

During National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), non-profit organizations and government agencies give people like you information on how to take advantage of your rights and make better-informed choices. At Medicare, we’re here to help you become an informed Medicare consumer. Here are 5 things you can do:

  1. Know your rights. As a person with Medicare, you have certain rights and protections designed to help protect you and make sure you get the health care services the law says you can get.
  2. Protect your identity. Identity theft happens when someone uses your personal information without your consent to commit fraud or other crimes. Keep the following personal information safe:
  • Your name
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your Medicare number (or your membership card if you’re in a Medicare Advantage or other Medicare health plan)
  • Your credit card and bank account numbers

Get more information on how to protect yourself from identity theft.

  1. Help fight Medicare fraud. Medicare fraud diverts money from the Medicare program each year, which means higher health care costs for you. Learn how to spot and report fraud.
  2. Get involved with other seniors with the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP). The SMP educates and empowers people with Medicare to take an active role in detecting and preventing health care fraud and abuse.
  3. Make informed Medicare choices. Each year during the fall Open Enrollment Period (October 15-December 7), review your plan to make sure it’s going to meet your needs for the following year. If you’re not satisfied with your current plan, you can switch during the Open Enrollment Period.

Visit NCPW to learn more about the campaign, see which agencies and organizations are able to help you, and to find out if there are any NCPW activities happening in your area.