The Kansas state insurance commissioner is warning against Medicare fraud in the open-enrollment period for Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans, which runs from mid-November until the end of the year.

The commissioner advocates education to fight potential scams and illegal sales during this period, fearing that unscrupulous salespeople may try to take advantage of the confusion surrounding the healthcare debate in Washington to scare beneficiaries into buying something they don’t need.

Tips that advisors can educate consumers so they can avoid being ripped off include:

* being wary of door-to-door salespeople as agents are forbidden from soliciting people in their homes;

* avoiding anyone who claims to be a Medicare salesperson because there are no official Medicare sales representatives;

* dealing only with licensed brokers;

* refusing to give out personal information such as Social Security numbers,

* bank account numbers or credit card numbers to anyone who has not been verified;

* ensuring that the plan is an approved Medicare plan and that it matches the beneficiary’s needs.