def #211 10/27/10
SENIOR ALERT: MEDICARE POSTCARD IS INSURANCE SOLICITATION
OLDER ADULTS living in Ocean County who receive Medicare should be aware that a postcard from the National Processing Center is a
form of solicitation for insurance companies and not an official document from the federal government.
The card, which has been mailed to Medicare beneficiaries, carried the warning: "Important: Projected Medicare Changes."
The postcard states that proposed cuts to existing government programs include a significant reduction in the federal Medicare
program, which may result in an increase in premiums and fees that you must pay" and a decrease in some benefits.
The postcard encourages recipients to sign and return the postage paid card in order to receive more information about the changes and how they
will personally affect the beneficiary and their present health care provider.
Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari, Chairman of Senior Services, noted the card is not an official document from Medicare and appears to be a marketing
tool that will result in older adults unknowingly signing up to receive materials from insurance companies.
"Our seniors need to know this is not an official notification from the federal government," Vicari said. "If seniors have questions about Medicare
or their coverage they should ask the experts and that help is available right here in Ocean County."
Vicari said seniors can call the Ocean County Office of Senior Services at 732-929-2091 or visit the County Connection at the Ocean County Mall,
Toms River, for assistance and information on the Medicare program.
"Insurance can be a very difficult road to navigate," Vicari said. "In Ocean County we make every effort to provide the information our seniors
need so they can make the best choices for them.
"This sort of marketing just makes worse the confusion that already may exist for our seniors when attempting to determine the insurance coverage they
need," Vicari said. "Marketing materials that can be misleading are of no benefit to seniors living in Ocean County."
Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety, noted that if seniors feel they are being scammed they can turn to law enforcement in Ocean
County and also the Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs.
"Making certain our seniors are safe is a priority in Ocean County," Kelly said. "Itís important to bring these kinds of situations to light so seniors
can make informed decisions on how to handle this kind of marketing material."