Council on Aging Answers 2016 - 72

Simple Ways to
Protect Yourself
From Fraud
COUNCIL ON AGING - ORANGE COUNTY

FINANCE & LEGAL

n Micki Nozaki and Karen Fletcher

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is not
true!
Have you been asked for your Medicare number in
exchange for free equipment or services? Were you recently offered free genetic testing at an ice cream social?
Free ice cream sounds pretty good and scam artists are
only too happy to conduct a "cheek swab" in exchange
for your Medicare number. That "cheek swab" procedure was just charged to Medicare for over $1100 for an
unnecessary test.
In addition, the scam artist could continue to use
your Medicare number to bill Medicare for other services you have not received and now your number is
flagged by Medicare as an "over-utilizer." This could
present difficulties in getting the service or supplies you
may need in the future. And if Medicare does not pay,
you may have to pay out of pocket.
"FREE" IS A RED FLAG. If services or treatment
were truly free, no Medicare number would be needed.
Be aware of people that say they know how to get Medicare to pay for something. Scam artists ask for your
Medicare number to sell it to other criminals or they bill
Medicare directly for services and equipment you will
never receive.
YOU HAVE THE POWER. One of the best things
you can do to protect yourself is to be informed. Ask
questions and report suspicious activity. To detect possible fraud, check your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN)
and your Explanation of Benefits statements. Make sure
you received all the services/supplies/prescriptions noted
on your statements. If you did not, immediately report
the fraud by contacting the California Senior Medicare
Patrol (SMP) hot line at 855-613-7080.
Question doctors, health care providers and suppliers
who ask for your Medicare number:
72

Answers Guide 2016	

n In exchange for free equipment or services
n For record-keeping purposes
n By using pressure or scare tactics to sell you expensive medical services or diagnostic tests
n To bill Medicare for tests you received as a hospital
inpatient or within 72 hours of admission or discharge
n To bill Medicare for a power wheelchair or scooter
when you don't meet Medicare's qualifications
n Call or visit you and say they represent Medicare
or Social Security. THESE ENTITIES WILL NOT
CALL YOU. THEY ALREADY HAVE YOUR MEDICARE NUMBER AND WILL NOT ASK YOU FOR IT
OR ANY OTHER PERSONAL INFORMATION.
If anyone approaches you in a public area and offers
FREE services, groceries, or other items in exchange for
your Medicare number, JUST WALK AWAY!
Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) is a national program
which helps Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries avoid,
detect, and report healthcare fraud. SMP protects beneficiaries and helps preserve the integrity of the Medicare
and Medicaid programs by recovering and avoiding the
billions of dollars typically lost to health care fraud each
year. SMP reaches out to Medicare beneficiaries in their
communities by hosting group presentations, exhibiting at community events, answering calls to the SMP
helplines, and providing one-on-one counseling. SMP
teaches Medicare beneficiaries how to protect their personal identity, how to identify and report errors on their
health care bills, and to identify deceptive or fraudulent
health care practices. For more information on fraud
prevention, education or volunteer opportunities call
855-613-7080 or visit www.cahealthadvocates.org.
Micki Nozaki is the California SMP Project Director.
Karen Fletcher is California Health Advocates PR and
Media contact.

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http://www.cahealthadvocates.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Council on Aging Answers 2016

Contents
Council on Aging Answers 2016 - Intro
Council on Aging Answers 2016 - Cover1
Council on Aging Answers 2016 - Cover2
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