|Winter 2022 Volume 15, Number 4|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.