Posted by Fred Lake

Watch Out For These Medicare Scams

Watch Out For These Medicare Scams

Every day in 365 days in a year, there are a lot of fraudulent calls that people or subscribers will receive. Such as: Hello, this is Medicare calling. Your coverage is about to be cancelled.

Medicare fraud losses hit $60 billion in 2017 and continue to rise according to AARP. Around the annual Open Enrollment period which ends December 7, Medicare scammer seems to come out of the woodwork. 

Your money or Medicare’s is what the crooks are after. They will file false claims, file “upcharge” claims for more expensive medical tests or equipment than the ones received, sell your data to others on the dark web, obtain pharmaceutical to sell on the black market, and even obtain treatment for themselves under your name using your information. 

What will these mean to you or your loved ones?

Fraudulent claims may reach the caps that the Medicare health plans have annually on reimbursements or treatments. Because of this, beneficiaries will be prohibited from using actual benefits and they will be disrupted from their medical care. There is no such leniency for medical identity theft while most credit card companies only hold customers liable for $59 in the event of fraud. The person with coverage could be held accountable and will wind up spending thousands in legal fees to resolve the issue if Medicare suspects malicious activity in your account. 

You can better protect yourself and your loved ones by knowing the Medicare scams to looks for and what to do after Medicare-related fraud. Below are some of the current Medicare scams:

People calling to update current Medicare policies by phone or sell Medicare insurance plans 

As people turn 65 or around annual re-enrollment time, this deceptive scam usually begins. By trying to sell a phony product such as a prescription drug or supplemental Medicare plan that will require a credit card or other payment, their goal is to get your personal information and money. 

People calling and threatening you that they will cancel your Medicare coverage unless you will update your information

Medicare will NEVER call you unless you initiated the request, that is the first rule of thumb with Medicare and you have to remember it. 

Verifying your new Medicare card to make sure you received your card is one of the most common schemes consists of callers introducing themselves as Medicare agents. They may even give you the option of returning your old card. The best advice for calls like this is to hang up. 

Sending bills from an unknown doctor, hospital or medical supplier

Knowing that many people will pay bills that they receive with the thought that it is another charge from recent medical activity or perhaps a portion not covered in Medicare, scammers will send such bills. 

So, for you to compare the costs against the bills you will receive, keep a calendar and record the exact dates of any health care services you’ve received. Also, statement listing or receipts from the service you got should be saved. Contact your insurance provider, or the billing department of your hospital facility to ask if it is valid if you are still unsure about a bill. 

To make sure there aren’t tests, procedures, drugs or equipment that you didn’t receive, check your quarterly Medicare Summary Notices. 

Visiting your house to sell a Medicare plan, medicines or supplements, medical equipment

Remember that a Medicare representative will NEVER show up at your door.

Fraudulent genetic testing is offered

To determine if you have a predisposition for any other serious illness or cancer, you may be invited to take cheek swabs for “free” genetic testing. Often, crooks will ask for your Medicare ID to file the claim and they will advertise that Medicare covers the test. To prove who you are, they might even ask for other identification. 

It is a scam if you haven’t mutually decided this is a necessary option after discussing this testing with your doctor. Random genetic testing will not be shouldered by Medicare. 

Sending counterfeit sales materials

Medicare Advantage plans, prescription drugs as well as offers of discounted or new Medicare supplemental coverage will fill the mailboxes of people 65 and older during the Open Enrollment. Many are some though some may be legitimate. 

You can contact your insurer’s customer service department if you have questions and are already on Medicare. To determine if what you have received is on the up and up, you can also head to the Medicare Plan Finder or call 1-800-MEDICARE.

Finally, you can also report someone whom you think is impersonating Medicare by calling 1-800-MEDICARE, you can also call 1-800-HHS-TIPS which is the Office of Medicare’s Inspector General or through the website of the Federal Trade Commission. And, for the government to find the fraudsters, it would be best to include the phone number of the caller and any other information.

Fred Lake
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