CA Dept of Insurance Senior Advisory 2009-10

Date: 10/2009 SA10-09 – SENIOR ADVISORY


This advisory was prepared by the California Department of Insurance to help seniors protect themselves against predatory insurance sales practices during open enrollment for Medicare Advantage plans and the Medicare Prescription Drug Program. Insurance is a difficult and challenging subject for everyone regardless of age, financial status, education, and experience. To help protect yourself from aggressive or deceptive sales practices, please consider these tips:

# Make Sure They’re Licensed: Not all people marketing Medicare
Advantage plans are insurance agents. If the person you are dealing with claims to be an insurance agent, contact the California Department of Insurance or visit to verify license status. Insurance agents are required to print their license number on all business cards, quotations, and advertisements. Also, verify that the insurance company is licensed to do business in California.
# Cold Calls Prohibited: Federal regulations prohibit “cold calls”
which may take the form of uninvited sales calls, door-to-door visits, unsolicited emails, telephone calls or any other type of sales contact without your express invitation.
# Be Stingy with Personal Information: Never give out personal
information such as your Social Security number, bank account numbers, or credit card information over the phone. Verify that the person you are dealing with has proper authority to act on behalf of the plan before you provide your Medicare number. This is a good time to seek assistance from a trusted relative, friend or advisor.
# Medicare Has No Official Sales Reps: Be wary of any salesperson who
says that he/she is a Medicare representative. Medicare does not send “representatives” to solicit your business.
# No Marketing in Educational or Care Settings: Federal regulations
prohibit the marketing of Medicare products in places where health care is delivered (such as a doctor’s office, clinic, or pharmacy counter) or at an educational event.
# No Such Thing as a Free Lunch: Federal regulations prohibit offers
of free meals for listening to a sales presentation or for signing up in a particular plan.
# Don’t Let Them Oversell You: Federal regulations prohibit selling
additional insurance products during any sales or marketing presentation for a Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Plan.
# Read and Understand the Plan: Be sure that the plan that you choose
matches your needs and that you can continue to see your current health care providers if you wish. It may be very difficult or even impossible to “undo” your selection later.
# You have rights! Contact the California Department of Insurance at
1-800-927-HELP (4357) or visit our website at, if you have any questions about an insurance offer, scheme or agent.

Additional Info: Information about Medicare is available at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or or the California Department of Aging Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) at 1-800-434-0222 may be able to assist you. Revised 10/14/09

Deadline for Registering Pumps is Approaching

There is a December 31, 2009 deadline for registering Tier 1 or 2 concrete pumps with the California Air Resources Board. After that deadline, pump engines will have to meet the current Tier 3 requirements before they can be registered. For more information, contact the manufacturer of your pump and see the CARB website at

Please note that registration is not required by any insurance companies we represent. This is between you and the State; we’re only passing on this information in the hopes it is helpful.