Medicare fraud costs American taxpayers billions of dollars each year. Last year Medicare removed Social Security numbers from Medicare ID cards and issued new Identification numbers to all beneficiaries as a way of reducing the amount of fraud. (See my prior article: Social Security Numbers to be Removed from Medicare ID Cards).
According to CMS (Medicare’s governing agency) one recent scheme involved “Durable Medical Equipment supply companies. These companies were soliciting Medicare recipients through robocalls and allegedly paying doctors to write prescriptions for “free” medical equipment, like a back or knee brace – ultimately to be billed to and paid by Medicare – without any patient interaction or with only a brief telephone conversation with patients they had never met or seen.”
I’ve gotten this kind of robocall. If you are on Medicare you have probably received them as well. This type of large-scale scam (130 distinct providers were suspended) can result in billions of dollars of loss to Medicare. Read more about the investigation.
Recently CMS issued regulations that provide it with new powers to keep unscrupulous providers out of our federal health insurance programs. This new rule becomes effective on November 4, 2019 Here is a link to this new rule and related comments.
Helping the government reduce Medicare fraud is one way that consumers can help reduce the nation’s soaring health care costs and preserve Medicare for the future. Here are a few things that people on Medicare can do to help the government reduce Medicare fraud:
Con artists may try to get your Medicare Number or personal information so they can steal your identity and commit Medicare fraud. Medicare fraud results in higher health care costs and taxes for everyone.
Protect yourself from Medicare fraud. Guard your Medicare card like it’s a credit card. Remember:
- Medicare will never contact you for your Medicare Number or other personal information unless you’ve given them permission in advance.
- Medicare will never call you to sell you anything.
- You may get calls from people promising you things if you give them a Medicare Number. Don’t do it.
- Medicare will never visit you at your home.
- Medicare can’t enroll you over the phone unless you called first.
Check regularly for Medicare billing fraud. Review your Medicare claims and Medicare Summary Notices for any services billed to your Medicare Number you don’t recognize.
Source: CMS, Help fight Medicare fraud
What should you do if you suspect fraud? Report anything suspicious to Medicare. If you suspect fraud, call 1-800-MEDICARE