Protecting Seniors From Medicare Fraud

Dec 3, 2013
Confusion about healthcare reform and Medicare enrollment gives criminals opportunity to target seniors. Here are tips to avoid Medicare fraud and scams.
Tags
  • Medicare
  • Seniors
  • Caregivers

Medicare Part D enrollment ends Dec. 7. As seniors make their final decisions, it’s important – now more than ever – to be informed and aware of potential fraud.

With a daily stream of news stories about the Affordable Care Act, many Americans still are confused about how healthcare reform affects them. Our survey of Medicare-eligible Americans  shows that this population in particular is confused about what implications, if any, the new healthcare reform law has for Medicare. Only 8% of seniors feel confident in their understanding of how the ACA impacts them.

This confusion gives criminals and scammers the opportunity to target seniors.

Increase in Senior-Targeted Fraud

The Federal Trade Commission has warned seniors about scams associated with Medicare and the ACA as they’ve seen complaints filed about bogus emails and phone calls. And recently The Wall Street Journal  highlighted additional cons focused on Medicare beneficiaries.

While this type of fraud is unjust and unsettling, it’s not all that surprising.

According to our survey, 50% of respondents said they fear that healthcare reform makes it more likely that they could be the victim of a health insurance scam.

Approximately 10% said they or someone they know has been the victim of healthcare fraud.

Here are some tips for seniors to help them avoid fraudulent activity:

Protect your personal information: Never give out your Social Security, banking or credit card number to anyone you do not know or have not initiated contact with directly. This includes your medical identification card, which should be kept in a secure location. Be alert to impersonators or email phishing scams asking you for your personal information, and never give out your passwords over the phone, on the Internet or through email. If you are unsure, call the company directly to inquire about the request.

Look only for CMS-approved plans: Before enrolling in a Medicare plan, check www.medicare.gov  to ensure the plan is approved by CMS. And remember, CMS prohibits door-to-door selling of approved Medicare plans.

Toss with caution: Remove or black out personal information on prescription bottles and other health-related forms and documents before discarding. When possible, use a shredder.

If you suspect identity theft, or think you gave your personal information to someone you should not have, contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.consumer.ftc.gov.

Public health insurance exchanges are primarily for those under age 65. If you are age 65 or older and do not have healthcare coverage through an employer or other entity, you are eligible to enroll in a Medicare plan.

For more information about protecting your identity and other important considerations for selecting a Medicare Part D plan, download our free eGuide available at www.roadmapformedicare.com.

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