Posted by Fletcher Accounting and Tax Service Inc.

Be On Alert For Scams During Medicare Open Enrollment

Be On Alert For Scams During Medicare Open Enrollment

Whether you're an older adult or not, whether you're paying taxes or social security, you are helping pay the bill for a Medicare scam. And if you're a Medicare beneficiary, it's easy to be cheated by the scam as an involuntary victim or accomplice.

Because health issues are in the news every day, it's a problem that affects us all, and we can all help reduce the number of Medicare fraudsters, as we explain in this issue, including essential tips to help you avoid scammers.

key points: 

  • About 2.4 million reports of fraud, identity theft, and other scams were sent this year to the Federal Trade Commission, with total losses of $ 1.2 billion.
  • Of the 332,000 incidents of government impostors, those related to Medicare or its supervising department, Health and Human Services, ranked second.
  • This year's Medicare scams include those that involve free or low-cost or back-up tampons or genetic testing offerings.
  • Finally, the national health program, in particular for the elderly, registered 44.2 million members.

And although no one knows how much of their $ 450 billion budget goes into Medicare pockets, it's probably between $ 8 billion and $ 40 billion. Some estimates are much higher.

  • There is a lot of money downstairs.
  • The problem is that many Medicare beneficiaries do not know (most of them) or seem to care (some) about the losses because they are not in the wallet. And anyway, maybe, they think, it's not their job. But it is.
  • Most of these Medicare fraud scams are the result of one of two tricks: fees for services that were not provided (or equipment returned) or patients receiving procedures or treatments which they don't need.

However, other seniors become victims, such as when they use the name Medicare to sell products or equipment they don't need. They often say they are "free" because Medicare will pay for them, but they end up paying when they shouldn’t.

Or they are brought to provide fraudulent, confidential information that is like Medicare or insurance representatives, obvious phishing used for identity theft.

The fact is, whether you are senior or not, we should all play a role in detecting these Medicare scams.

As an organization puts it, "It is in your interest and for all citizens to report any suspected fraud." Health care fraud, both against Medicare and private insurers, is increasing the costs of medical care. Health for all, as well as increased purchases, improves the values of the foods we eat and the clothes we wear, and if we want to maintain our current health system, we must work collectively to reduce costs. "

Here are some helpful tips to help you avoid getting involved in a Medicare scam, whether it is directed to your organization or not:

  • Pay attention to a supplier or anyone who claims that Medicare does not usually cover something, but knows how to go about it only if you pay.
  • Pay attention to providers who request co-payments for Medicare-covered laboratory tests or preventative services, such as PSA tests, Pap tests, or flu shots
  • Don't give up on people who use pressure or fear tactics to sell expensive medical services or diagnostic tests; always check with your doctor.
  • The same goes for people who use telemarketing and door-to-door techniques to sell what they need. These are specially designed for people with arthritis, diabetes, or sleep problems.
  • Don't believe the vendors who claim to belong to Medicare. The organization does not call or visit its affiliates to sell anything.
  • Never provide the Medicare health insurance claim number (on the card) except for the doctor or other Medicare provider. Treat it with the same security that applies to your credit card or social security number. Do not take it with you if you do not need it. If someone tells you that an item is free but only needs your Medicare number for your records, don't believe it. It would be improbable.
  • Do not allow anyone other than the appropriate health care professionals to review medical records or recommend services.
  • Always ask your doctor or health plan if you do not understand the billing fees, when you do not think you received the service, or when you feel it is not necessary.
  • Always check the Summary of Medicare (MSN) and Part D of the explanation of benefits. 
Fletcher Accounting and Tax Service Inc.
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