Some unethical agents may be thinking that the Medicare open enrollment period going on now is the perfect opportunity for the type of high-pressure sales tactics endured by Dwain and Elsie Miennert, whose story was reported recently in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

After believing the government had sent them a postcard asking for information, the Miennerts filled it out and returned it, not realizing they had just invited a three-hour sales pitch from Eugene Evasku, a broker who had previously been accused of misleading seniors regarding insurance policies.

At their 2007 meeting with Evasku, the Miennerts, who are in their 70s, were persuaded to cancel their longtime health insurance policy and sign up for one provided by Evasku. Late this year, Evasku’s alleged misdeeds finally caught up with him when Minnesota decided to revoke his license and fine him $30,000.

Regulators and senior advocates are warning seniors to be on the lookout for high-pressure or misleading sales tactics during this enrollment period, as changes to Medicare plans have left some seniors confused and vulnerable. And changes to companies’ health plans have some retirees entering the market on their own for the first time.

Office products giant 3M, for example, has announced that retirees will no longer be eligible for the company’s health plan. Instead, they will receive financial assistance in purchasing a Medicare supplement or drug plan on their own.