NEW YORK STATE — Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion per year. It costs Medicare beneficiaries time, stress, their medical identities and potentially their health. It costs families, …
NEW YORK STATE — Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion per year. It costs Medicare beneficiaries time, stress, their medical identities and potentially their health. It costs families, friends and caregivers in worry and lost work when helping their loved ones recover from falling victim to Medicare fraud.
“Medicare fraud has a devastating impact on both beneficiaries and the Medicare program,” said Maria Alvarez, the executive director of the New York StateWide Senior Action Council (StateWide). The group is the administrator of New York’s Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) program.
“We teach people how to avoid experiencing Medicare fraud,” Alvarez said. “By preventing fraud from happening, this program helps individuals and protects the Medicare program for generations to come.”
Learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones by joining the SMP and its partners for Medicare Fraud Prevention Week, June 5-11.
This observance starts on Monday, June 5, or “6-5,” because most people become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65 years old.
Everyone plays a part in the fight against fraud. During Medicare Fraud Prevention Week:
Medicare beneficiaries can monitor their insurance statements to make sure that products and services they received match what is on the statements.
Caregivers can help by being on the lookout for items such as durable medical equipment lying around the house that may have been shipped to the beneficiary without their or their doctor’s approval.
They can remind their client or loved one to never give out their Medicare number or other personal information over the phone.
Families can help by talking to their loved ones about protecting their Medicare number just as they would a credit card number.
They can help their loved ones create a Medicare.gov account to access their Medicare statements online or remind them to open and review them when they come in the mail. They can also register their phone number on “do not call” lists and go to optoutprescreen.com to opt out of mailings.
Ask health care providers about health care-related scams, such as those related to durable medical equipment and genetic testing schemes.
Needed medical items should never be ordered through TV ads or unsolicited calls.
Community members can help by looking out for older neighbors. When in public, they can be aware of older individuals purchasing gift cards in large amounts. They can encourage those they know to talk to a trusted source about their Medicare questions and tell neighbors about the most recent Medicare scams.
Consider volunteering with StateWide’s SMP.
The NYS Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) is ready to provide you with the information you need to PROTECT yourself from Medicare fraud, errors, and abuse; DETECT potential fraud, errors, and abuse; and REPORT your concerns.
SMP members help educate and empower Medicare beneficiaries in the fight against health care fraud.
Seniors can request free My Health Care Trackers from StateWide by calling its toll-free helpline at 800/333-4374 or visiting StateWide at www.nysenior.org.
To learn more, call the hotline above or visit the website.
Contributed by the New York StateWide Senior Action Council.
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