Guard your Medicare number well!

Monday, April 24, 2017

 

Consumer Action reminds seniors to safeguard their Medicare numbers. Scammers use victims' Medicare numbers to commit fraud and steal benefits. Unauthorized use by thieves and scammers can impact your ability to receive your Medicare healthcare benefits.

Remember:

  1. Never give out your Medicare number just to get a free service or free product. Your Medicare account could be billed.
  2. Always check your Medicare statement for errors, like services or equipment you never received. Report the use of services you did not authorize to Medicare immediately.

Common approaches by scammers

  • In exchange for your Medicare number, you are offered a free health screening at a temporary clinic. The scammers take your number and bill Medicare for the screening so that when you do your annual visit to your doctor, Medicare will not pay for your annual doctor’s visit because it looks like you received that annual benefit already. At that point, you are responsible for paying your doctor’s bill in full.
  • Unscrupulous telemarketers call you on the phone and pretend to be Medicare representatives and ask for your Medicare number. Medicare will never call you for payment or to ask for your Medicare number. You can call Medicare directly at 800-633-4227.
  • Telemarketers offer “free” medical supplies but ask you for your Medicare number. If the supplies are really free, they don’t need your Medicare number. Asking for your number is a sign they intend to bill Medicare on your behalf.
  • One sign that your Medicare number is compromised is if you receive medical supplies you don’t need and your doctor didn’t order. Call Medicare immediately if your Medicare statement shows bills for medical tests or screenings you never received.

Disclosing your Medicare number is like giving out your credit card or a blank check. Don’t give it to anyone except medical providers you know and trust, or to Medicare when you dial the Medicare customer service number yourself. Even worse, you might be locked out of getting necessary health services and medical equipment if the fraudsters are using your Medicare number.

If you have any questions regarding your Medicare plan, you can call Medicare directly at 800-633-4227 (TTY: 877-486-2048).

Report any suspicious activity or fraud to the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services at 800-447-8477 or via email at [email protected].

For more tips on how to fight Medicare fraud, go to https://www.medicare.gov/fraud

 

Tags/Keywords

elder fraud, senior scams, medicare


 
 
 

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