Prevent Medicare Fraud

5 Dec

Common scams

Be suspicious of doctors, health care providers, or suppliers who:

  • Ask for your Medicare number:
    • In exchange for free equipment or services
    • For “record keeping purposes”
  • Tell you that tests become cheaper as  more of them are provided
  • Advertise “free” consultations to people with Medicare
  • Call or visit you and say they represent Medicare or the federal government
  • Use telephone or door-to-door selling techniques
  • Use pressure or scare tactics to sell you expensive medical services or diagnostic tests
  • Bill Medicare for services you never received or a diagnosis you do not have
  • Offer non-medical transportation or housekeeping as Medicare-approved services
  • Bill home health services for patients who are not confined to their home, or for patients who still drive a car
  • Bill Medicare for medical equipment for people in nursing homes
  • Bill Medicare for tests you received as a hospital inpatient or within 72 hours of admission or discharge
  • Bill Medicare for a power wheelchair or scooter when you don’t meet Medicare’s qualifications

Identity theft

Identity theft happens when someone uses your personal information without your consent to commit fraud or other crimes. Personal information includes your name, Social Security, Medicare, or credit card numbers.

The crime takes many forms. Identity thieves may rent an apartment, obtain a credit card, or establish a telephone account in your name. You may not find out about the theft until you review your credit report or a credit card statement and notice charges you didn’t make—or until you’re contacted by a debt collector.

Identity theft is serious. While some identity theft victims can resolve their problems quickly, others spend hundreds of dollars and many days repairing damage to their good name and credit record.

Protect yourself. Keep your personal information safe. Don’t give your information out over the Internet, or to anyone who comes to your home (or calls you) uninvited. Give personal information only to doctors or other Medicare approved providers.

To see if a provider is Medicare approved, call:

  • 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227)
  • 877-486-2048 (TTY users)

Learn more about identity theft from the Federal Trade Commission

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2 Responses to “Prevent Medicare Fraud”

  1. Vale Spa December 5, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

    Always read your Medicare Summary Notice and health care bills. Look for double billing and charges for services you didn’t receive or the doctor didn’t order.

    Guard your Medicare or Social Security numbers like credit cards. Say no if someone offers to buy them.

    Tear or shred health care papers before discarding to avoid theft.

    Visit only your own doctors, hospital or clinic. Only they should make referrals.

    Never show anyone your medical records without checking with your doctor or pharmacist.

    Hang up the phone if a caller tries to pressure you into something.

    Close the door if a sales agent knocks to say they are from Medicare or a health care company.

    Don’t buy “miracle” products on the phone or online without talking to your doctor.

    Pick up your mail from the mailbox every day, to avoid theft.

    Refuse if someone says Medicare is offering to sell you something. Medicare sells nothing.

    Be suspicious if an offer seems too good to be true.

  2. Vale Spa December 5, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    Valerie Norton, Manager of Seniors vs. Crime for Duval County says local seniors are receiving calls from scammers claiming to be Medicare representatives. They’re told their health care coverage is at risk and the Affordable Care Act is to blame.

    “They tell them there have been changes and are asking for a credit card number so they can have that on file for any deductibles and co-pays. They’ll also ask to verify your Medicare number, which is also your Social Security number, so at that point they have your credit card number, your address, your phone number and your Social.”

    Norton says it sounds legit and often works because new health care policies are confusing, and seniors are scared to lose their coverage.

    Criminals convince their victims that giving them credit card information will protect them, when it actually puts them at risk.

    “Not only do they clean out your bank accounts, but they also file claims in your name. Some day you might need that service and it has already been used up.”

    If you see something suspicious, Norton says you should call Medicare to file a report, and then call police.

    “If you see a wheelchair on your Medicare statement and you don’t have one, you may be a victim.”

    To learn more about Medicare fraud, visit the Senior Medicare Patrol website.

    You can also visit the Florida AARP website.

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