Ask Joan: Join us for Medicare Fraud Prevention Week | News

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Query: I recently received a telephone call urging me to take a genetic test, which the telemarketer claimed was covered under Medicare and could be freed from charge to me. By analyzing the outcomes of swabbing the inside my mouth, he stated that his company could test me for cancer, heart disease, how well my body processes my various prescriptions, and whether I’m carrying genes linked to several diseases. It sounded too good to be true, so I declined. Was I right?

Answer: Yes, you were right to not fall for a scam that’s all too common for the time being. Medicare beneficiaries are being targeted about this test through phone calls and by salespeople visiting senior centers, housing complexes, and other gathering places. These scammers are searching for to learn your Medicare number, which they will subsequently use for his or her gain and your loss. Be very careful about giving out your Medicare number. I applaud you for taking a task in stopping an act of Medicare fraud.

This June marks the twenty fifth anniversary of the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) Program, and to commemorate this a national week has been designated focused on Medicare fraud prevention. Medicare Fraud Prevention Week begins the week of June fifth and focuses on actions everyone can take to stop Medicare fraud, errors, and abuse.

Medicare loses an estimated $60 billion every yr, and locally, Massachusetts Senior Medicare Patrol volunteers play a novel role in empowering consumers to detect and combat Medicare fraud, errors, and abuse. Medicare beneficiaries are the “eyes and ears” of communities. Medicare could be complicated, with many regulations, exceptions to those regulations, and changes in policies. Don’t hesitate to contact the SMP Program: we’re here to show you how to with any questions you’ll have.

In fact, mistakes can occur in billing. Medicare fraud, nonetheless, involves criminal intent. Some common examples of Medicare fraud or abuse are:

• Billing for services or supplies that weren’t received

• Providing supplies that an individual didn’t request

• Misrepresenting a person’s diagnosis, identity, the service provided, or other facts to justify billing them

• Prescribing or providing excessive or unnecessary tests and services

• Offering or receiving a bribe to acquire someone’s Medicare number

• Asking for Medicare numbers at an academic presentation or during an unsolicited phone call

• Violating the provider agreement by billing a person quite than Medicare

• Routinely waiving co-insurance or deductibles. (Waivers are only allowed on a case-by-case basis where there may be financial hardship. They shouldn’t be offered as a method of attracting business.)

When you or anyone you understand encounters what you observed is a Medicare-related scam, you possibly can report it by emailing ReportAScam@MASMP.org or by calling 800-892-0890. Visit: https://www.masmp.org/

As well as, we’re at all times excited by speaking with individuals who may need to learn more about volunteering, doing this vital and rewarding work.

Are you struggling to take care of an older adult or having difficulty locating resources? Our experienced staff is out there to assist. Visit us online at www.agespan.org for more information. It’s also possible to call us at 800-892-0890 or email info@agespan.org. Joan Hatem-Roy is the Chief Executive Officer of AgeSpan, formerly Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and North Shore.

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