4 Tips to Protect Yourself From Medicare Fraud
Scammers continue to get more creative with their scams, and Medicare is no exception. Most individuals attempting to conduct Medicare scams are trying to defraud the program itself, but beneficiaries can be targeted as well. Listed below are four tips to avoid fraud.
1. Treat Your Medicare Number Like it's Your Social Security Number
Only give it to people you trust and know are your medical providers. Oftentimes, scammers will call and offer free medical equipment or devices. They say all you need to provide is your Medicare number. This allows them to abuse your number and could lead to you paying for fake services or equipment.
2. Keep Track of Your Appointments and Procedures on a Calendar or in a Notebook
Writing down all of your appointments and procedures will not only help you remember your appointments, but will serve as a reference if you ever notice something incorrect on a medical bill. Sometimes providers will bill you for extra services they didn’t provide to try and get more money from Medicare.
3. Decline Services You Know Aren’t Covered
If someone tries to offer you a questionable service that doesn’t sound medically necessary, decline it. These could be offers for things like massages, dance classes, or electro- acupuncture to name a few services advertised in past scams. You can refer to the list of Medicare-Covered services to check what Medicare will and won’t cover.
4. Be Skeptical of Calls or Solicitors Who Come to Your Door
Anyone who is offering you a deal or a gift over the phone or at your doorstep is unlikely to be a real medical provider. In the past they have tried to sell braces and COVID-19 tests or offer to review your medical records to suggest treatments. Trust your judgement in these situations.
While you may never be targeted by a scammer, it's always best to know what to watch out for and to be prepared. Medicare keeps a page of recent scams you check to know what else scammers might be trying. For more information on avoiding scams you can read this article from AARP and a list of Do’s and Don’ts from Medicare.gov.