COLUMBUS - During National Consumer Protection Week, March 6-12, Ohio Lieutenant Governor and Department of Insurance Director Mary Taylor is urging Medicare enrollees, their family members, and caregivers to familiarize themselves with the Department’s programs that educate Ohioans about Medicare and insurance fraud aimed at seniors.
“One of the Department’s key goals is to help Ohioans understand Medicare and guide them through the product comparison process so they select a plan that best suits their needs,” Taylor said. “We also want to warn them about the latest scams and let them know that we’re here to help.”
Last year, the Department’s Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP), handled nearly 42,000 calls to its hotline, conducted 44,000 one-on-one client counseling sessions and held more than 530 outreach events across the state. The events included OSHIIP’s Medicare Check-up Days during the fall open enrollment period and Welcome to Medicare events for those just turning 65 years of age.
OSHIIP, funded in part by state funds and by a grant from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), was founded in 1992 to provide Medicare beneficiaries with free, objective health insurance information and one-on-one counseling. OSHIIP’s speaker’s bureau, hotline experts, and trained volunteers educate consumers about Medicare, Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D), Medicare Advantage options, Medicaid, Medicare supplement insurance, long-term care insurance and other health insurance matters. Those who wish to utilize OSHIIP’s services can call 1-800-686-1578 and visit www.insurance.ohio.gov for information.
The Department’s “Take Action Protect Yourself from Fraud” program focuses on alerting consumers about deceptive sales practices and schemes currently occurring with annuities, living trusts, and stranger-originated life insurance (STOLI) products, as well as Medicare and health care fraud. The program directs people to the appropriate agency to report fraud and how to avoid financial exploitation.
Ohioans can visit www.takeaction.ohio.gov for a special consumer guide and to stay informed on the latest fraud news and alerts. Requests for information or a speaker can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Consumers with specific insurance questions and complaints can call the Department’s consumer hotline at 1-800-686-1526.