Medicare fraud wastes billions of dollars every year. Though some people aren’t directly impacted by it, all enrollees are impacted indirectly, as fraud causes things to be more expensive. But there is a lot you can do to protect yourself from Medicare fraud, waste and abuse. The number one thing is to be aware.
Unfortunately, Medicare fraud comes in many forms. Sometime, fraud can come from people you know - doctors, nurses, other medical staff, etc. – when they provide services and medications that you don’t actually need. While other scammers contact you over the phone, via email, via text, and in other ways that make it less easy to know fraud is happening.
Here are just a few of the ways people are trying to use dishonest means to make money:
- Using your Medicare number to bill Medicare for services or items you did not receive
- Sending you items you did not ask for and then billing Medicare for them
- Telling you Medicare will pay for genetic testing, but it does not
- Informing you that you need to pay for a new Medicare card, but Medicare cards are actually provided to you for no charge
- Asking for your Social Security Number and bank account information, so that you can send you a refund for something
- Pressuring you to pay a bill over the phone by telling you your coverage will be dropped if you don’t pay.
- Showing up at your door and tells you they are with Medicare
- And unfortunately, many, many more.
Protecting Yourself from Medicare Fraud
Though there are scammers out there who are working very hard to make money illegally, there is a lot you can do to protect yourself.
- Keep track of the medical services and prescription drugs you receive. And review the receipts and bills you get from each of them. If something doesn’t look right, follow up and ask questions.
- Make sure your Medicare and Social Security cards are in a safe place at all times, and only share these numbers with trusted medical professionals who actually need to see it.
- Be very careful of the kind of personal information you share over the phone or online. Do not share your SSN, Medicare number, bank account information, etc. unless you are absolutely sure that it is safe to do so.
- Don’t let someone pressure you into sharing personal information or paying for something immediately.
- Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Here's a one-minute video about preventing health care fraud
from the federal Administration for Community Living.
Fraud, abuse and scams are happening everywhere. But you can protect yourself. To learn more about what you can do, call the Senior LinkAge Line at 800-333-2433, Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
The Senior LinkAge Line is Minnesota’s federally designated Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP). They help people fight fraud, abuse and scams. Report fraud, abuse and scams by calling the Senior LinkAge Line at 800-333-2433