Guest Blog: Facts about Medicare Fraud Protection That Every Senior Needs To Know

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Most doctors and organizations who take Medicare are honest care providers, helping give the elderly crucial treatment quickly and conveniently.  However, there are small numbers of unscrupulous people who use Medicare accounts to charge for services they never provide or are completely unnecessary.

 

Medicare fraud drains billions of taxpayer dollars every year, depleting funds that are meant to treat people who are in most need of medical services. But while every taxpaying American is stung by fraudsters who charge for undelivered treatment and supplies, the elderly are hurt even more.  Someone who had their Medicare account compromised can mistakenly be denied essential services.  This is a mix up that can take time to correct — delaying treatment in the process.

 

Fortunately, there are measures that everyone who relies on Medicare can use to protect themselves against this particularly destructive form of elder abuse.

 

Be Skeptical Of Free Services

 

There are many fantastic non-profit organizations who offer completely free services for the elderly, such as basic medical treatment, meals, or legal help.  However, if someone offers genuinely free medical services to the elderly, they shouldn’t need your Medicare information. A common fraud is to tell Medicare patients that they can receive 100% no cost, no string attached medical services, but they simply need the Medicare number “for identification purposes.” In reality, they turn around and use this information in order to file claims for treatment that you never received.

 

If an organization requests your Medicare information, always ask precisely what they are going to charge to your account. Get receipts for every service provided.  A small amount of diligence can quickly stop crooks from using your Medicare account fraudulently.

 

Protect Your Medicare Information

 

Fraudsters also illegitimately use Medicare information through identity theft. Keep your identity secure by being vigilant about who receives your personal information. Treat your Medicare information like you would a credit card number. Only give your information to medical providers approved by Medicare.  If you are unsure, please call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for more information about approved providers.

 

Check Your Statements

 

As a Medicare patient, you receive a Medicare Summary Notice every quarter — a detailed list of every service that was charged to your Medicare account. (If you don’t have your most recent notice, you can still check on your account by visiting MyMedicare.gov.) Review it when it arrives to ensure that you actually got the services listed. If you see something fishy, like a service that was charged but you don’t recall receiving, talk to the organization who charged your account. They should be able to better help you understand the supplies charged.

 

However, if you suspect that they are fraudulently you should file a report with the aforementioned number above.

 

Fight Elder Abuse

 

Medicare fraud is a type of elder abuse that harms programs aimed at providing essential medical help. The only thing that can help Medicare prevent fraud is the combined efforts of honest medical service providers, law enforcement, and diligent Medicare patients.



Sidebar Note from us here at EtMM: For additional information about Identity Theft protection and general legal advice from a trusted and affordable source, you can learn more by visiting the LegalShield website (click the word LegalShield to connect and sign up)

Author Bio:

This is a guest post by Logan Strain, a blogger based in Southern California. He writes about crime, fraud, and personal safety.  This blog was submitted by Kristen Bright <kbright@instantcheckmate.com>

 

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