For the greater good, Medicare representatives are urging its recipients to be astute with their Medicare transactions. Medicare fraud is a big industry and the more everyday people help watch for it, the better the Medicare program will run. Less fraud equals lower overall costs and better access to care. It’s a win-win.
What can you do to help? Check your bills and report errors. Be judicious with your Medicare number and only give it when warranted. Know how to prevent identity theft. In a nutshell, stay aware.
“Up to 10% of Medicare payments are in the fraud or abuse category. Fraud is low, but growing, and becoming a concern,” said an Operations Manager for Colorado’s Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and the SMP Medicare Fraud Program.
Check Your Bills
The Medicare.gov website offers tips to prevent fraud. When it comes to your bills, they advise using a calendar to record your doctor’s appointments and what tests you’ve received. Then, check these against your Medicare statements. When spending time in the hospital, make sure the admission and discharge dates are accurate, along with the diagnosis.
“Errors happen, particularly in large healthcare systems. It’s often a mistake with billing, but sometimes it is deliberate fraud so we advise people to pay attention to their bills,” said an operations manager.
Be Careful with Your Medicare Number
Medicare.gov advises that you treat your Medicare card like it’s a credit card. It’s that important. Don’t give your Medicare card or number to anyone except your doctor or an authorized Medicare provider.
If someone knocks on your door selling medical supplies and says they are from Medicare, remember, Medicare does not send representatives to your home.
Once such scammers have your number, or it has been obtained via identity theft, they sell it to people who will use it illegally to gain medical services. Such fraudulent use might show up on your medical record and impede on you getting the care you need.