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Winter 2022  Volume 15, Number 4        
 

social security card and dollars

How to Protect Yourself from Medicare Scams

With health care costs rising, it’s no wonder that scams targeting Medicare enrollees are increasing, too. According to the National Heath Care Anti-Fraud Association, healthcare scams cost an estimated $68 billion annually. Seniors are often the most vulnerable to these schemes.

How Medicare Scams Work

Scammers will typically contact Medicare enrollees by phone, mail, or even in person. They might offer something that sounds very tempting — anything from free medical equipment to the promise of a refund. The goal is to get the person’s Medicare number, which can be used to bill the government for false claims.

Another scam is to pose as a Medicare official and ask someone to pay for a new card. Or they might tell somebody they have a refund due and just need confirmation of the person’s ID and bank account numbers.

Protecting Yourself from Medicare Scams

Here are some ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim of Medicare fraud, such as:

Keep Your Personal Information Safe

Never give out your Medicare number to someone you don’t know. If someone calls, texts, or emails asking for your number, don’t respond. And if someone comes to your door offering free medical supplies or services, don’t let them in.

Scammers have perfected their acting skills. They often sound friendly and may even know some of your personal information. They may seem entirely genuine but don’t be fooled. All they want is your Medicare number so they can commit fraud.

Keep in mind that Medicare will never contact you unless you’ve called them already to ask for help. They also will never come to your home unsolicited. So if someone claiming to be from Medicare does contact you, hang up immediately.

Don’t Trust Freebies or Incentives

Any medical freebies, incentives, or refunds should be viewed with suspicion. Unfortunately, these are common ways that scammers lure people in. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Even if they’ve already sent you equipment or services, it’s still a scam. They’re just trying to establish credibility to get their hands on your Medicare number.

Don’t Click on Email Links

If you get an email or text supposedly from Medicare that includes a link or attachment, don’t click on it. These could be viruses or phishing attempts to steal your personal information.

If you’re unsure whether a message is from Medicare, don’t click on anything in the message. Instead, log into your MyMedicare.gov account or call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE. They can help you determine whether the message is legitimate. .

Check Your Medicare Statements

It’s essential to regularly review your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) and/or Explanation of Benefits (EOB) statements for errors. If you see a service or charge you don’t recognize, call the provider listed on the statement to find out more. You can also call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE to ask about questionable charges.

What to Do If You’ve Been Scammed

Call Medicare immediately if you think you’ve given your Medicare number to a scammer. They can help you report the fraud and get a new Medicare number.

You should also contact your Medicare drug plan and medical insurance provider to inform them that someone may have stolen your Medicare number. Then, contact the US attorney’s office in your area and your state attorney general’s office. You can also file a complaint online with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

If you have been scammed, don’t feel ashamed. Scammers are very good at what they do, and many people fall victim to their schemes. Remember, you are not alone, and there is help available.

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In this issue:

This Just In...“Cash” Pharmacies Don’t Take Insurance but Save Patients Money

Rising Demand for Life Insurance in a Post-Pandemic World

How to Afford Long-Term Care as Prices Rise

How to Protect Yourself from Medicare Scams

Majority of Hospitals Ignore Hospital Price Transparency Law

 

 

 


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