Medicare fraud accounts for trillions of dollars in wasted tax dollars every year. As a result it doesn’t only affect those taking original Medicare, but all who pay into the federal tax system each year. Medicare scams are another common abuse that seniors receiving Medicare face, unfortunately and many times results in identity theft. If you or a family member receives original Medicare benefits know the warning signs and what to watch for so that you don’t find yourself in the position of dealing with the disastrous and costly consequences.
What is Medicare fraud?
Medicare fraud occurs when someone files false claims to Medicare on behalf of the individual.
Two of the most common types of Medicare fraud or abuse:
1) After having visited a physician of medical office you are given a statement quoting a certain amount due but they later bill Medicare more than that amount and pocket the difference.
2) A physician, medical office or service provider submits a claim to Medicare for services or equipment that the individual never required or received.
What you need to know about Medicare Scams?
Unfortunately, seniors have become a target for scams and identity theft involving not only their credit, but their social security and Medicare benefits as well!
Some common scams to protect yourself and family from:
1) You are contacted by an unknown person requesting your Medicare number for “record keeping” or “free equipment” purposes.
2) Someone is using high pressure and scare tactics to sell you expensive medical services, tests or equipment.
3) Being offered non-medical transportation or housekeeping services under the guise of it being a Medicare benefit.
4) An attempt to bill Medicare for a power wheelchair or scooter when you do not meet Medicare’s qualifications for one or have been advised by a doctor to use one.
How do you protect yourself?
Identity theft is a common concern for everyone these days and seniors face a whole new set of risks concerning identity theft. Protecting your Medicare and Social Security benefits from being stolen and used by theft is extremely important. Here are some tips for avoiding theft of your benefits and/or identity:
1) Always check your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) or statements from your Medicare supplement plan for errors or claim amounts that do not match your records.
2) Treat your Medicare and Social Security cards like credit cards! DO NOT give your information over the phone to unknown individuals for any reason!
3) DO NOT allow anyone into your home claiming to offer Medicare services or equipment without having made a prior appointment!
4) When choosing a doctor, medical facility or insurance agent check with your state licensing board to verify that they are credible and licensed.
5) DO NOT give out your information over the internet.
6) DO NOT provide medical records to anyone requesting them accept your physician(s).
7) DO NOT respond to any calls or emails from unknown individuals requesting that you send them money or any of your private information.
Taking the time to do some quick investigative work is worth it when your financial security, Medicare benefits and peace of mind are a potential target for fraud, scams or identity theft. Protect yourself and your family members, the risks aren’t worth it!
For more information go to mymedicare.gov, or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).