How Can You Protect Yourself from Medicare Fraud?

Dec 5, 2013

Open enrollment for Medicare ends Saturday, Dec. 7, and Kimberly Riddle with the WV Senior Medicare Patrol said that means an influx of scams directed toward seniors.

Whether they receive phones calls asking for personal information for fake Obamacare cards or banking information to bill them for their new Medicaid cards, Riddle said it’s important for seniors to know these are fraudulent calls and to report them.

More than 170 seniors attended the AARP's "Consumer University" at the Embassy Suites in Charleston Thursday.
Credit Ashton Marra

At the West Virginia AARP’s “Consumer University” in Charleston, an educational seminar to reduce fraud among older West Virginians, Riddle presented easy steps for seniors to protect, detect and report possible healthcare fraud.

Protect:

Treat your Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security number like a credit card number, Never give these numbers to a stranger.

Remember, Medicare doesn’t call or visit to sell you anything,

Don’t carry your Medicare or Medicaid card unless you are going to a doctor’s appointment, visiting a hospital or clinic, or making a trip to the pharmacy.

Record your doctor visits, test and procedures in a personal health care journal or calendar.

Save your Medicare Summary Notices (MSN) and Part D Explanation of Benefits (EOB). Shred the documents when they are no longer useful.

Detect:

Always review your MSN and EOB for mistakes. You can access your current account 24 hours a day at www.MyMedicare.gov

Compare your MSN and EOB to your personal health care journal and prescription receipts.

Look for charges for something you didn’t get, billing for the same thing twice, or billings for services your doctor did not order.

Report:

If you have a question about the information on your MSN or EOB, call you provider or plan first.

If you are not comfortable calling your provider, call the Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-800-799-4638.

“If you do find a mistake you can call us and we’ll help you investigate that, answer your questions and see if we can’t get it resolved for you,” Riddle said.

For help reviewing your current Medicare plan and guidance on choosing the appropriate plan going into 2014, contact the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services at 1-877-987-4463 or Medicare 24 hours a day at 1-800-633-4227.