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Understanding Medicare

Recognize scams and protect yourself against Medicare fraud

October 1, 2021
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Medicare fraud is becoming widespread. It seems like every day we hear about a new scam designed to con older adults. These scams try to get people to reveal their personal information.

That information is then used to steal your identity. Or it is used to submit false medical claims to Medicare in exchange for payment. More than ever, you must take precautions to protect yourself from becoming a victim.

In many of these scams, you may be tricked into giving out your Medicare number. The Medicare website advises you to “guard your Medicare card like it’s a credit card.” Here are some things you should know to help prevent fraud:

Beware of phone calls “from Medicare.” 

Medicare will never contact you for information without your permission. They will not ask for your Medicare number or other personal information unless YOU have given them permission to do so.

Do not give your Medicare number to anyone who:

Also, it’s important to know that Medicare can’t enroll you over the phone unless you call first.

Carefully review your Medicare claims.

Every time you go to the doctor or receive healthcare services, write down the date on a calendar. You should also save your medical receipts and statements. Compare the information with the actual claims Medicare has processed. This will help you make sure you are not being billed for services you did not get.

You can review your Medicare claims by looking at your “Medicare Summary Notice.” You will receive this in the mail every three months if you have Original Medicare. You may also view your claims by visiting MyMedicare.gov.1 Or you can call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Be suspicious of healthcare providers who overpromise.

Even doctors and other healthcare professionals can be guilty of attempting Medicare fraud. There are a number of ways this can happen.

Be suspicious of the following scenarios:

What to do if you’re not sure

These are just a few of the more common ways that con artists try to commit Medicare fraud or steal your identity. The key is to not let your guard down. If you suspect Medicare fraud, or if something seems suspicious, you can report it. Here’s how:

 • Visit forms.oig.hhs.gov1 to file a report online.

1 When you click this link, you will leave the Commonwealth Care Alliance website.

Sources:

https://www.medicare.gov/forms-help-resources/help-fight-medicare-fraud

https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/10111-Protecting-Yourself-and-Medicare.pdf

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