Medicare Beneficiaries are at Constant Risk of Medicare Fraud… Here’s How to Stay Protected!
For some unfortunate individuals, Medicare fraud is an easy way to make big bucks off of unsuspecting taxpayers. Especially in the wake of COVID-19, fraudsters are out in full force to steal your identity, sell your information, and even use your plan without you knowing.
We’re here to put a stop to that. This guide will teach readers about how to stay protected against the most common forms of Medicare fraud and Medicare scams.
5 Tips to Protect Yourself from Medicare Fraud and Medicare Scams
Here are 5 easy ways to protect yourself from Medicare scams:
1.) Treat Your Medicare Card like your Social Security Card
Keep your card somewhere safe, and know where it is at all times. Treat your Medicare card the same way you would treat a credit card or your Social Security card.
2.) Protect Your Medicare Number from Fraud
Don’t give your Medicare number to anyone who isn’t your doctor or provider. Your Medicare number can help a scammer to steal identity, and use your plan to pay for their own expenses.
3.) Learn to Spot Common Medicare Scams
Here are the most common forms of Medicare scam that you need to keep an eye out for:
- The “Update Your Medicare Card” Call: Someone claiming to be from Medicare calls telling you that you need to take action to renew your Medicare card. DO NOT give out your Medicare information over the phone. As long as you’re paying your Part B premium, your Medicare card will be automatically renewed and sent to you through the mail.
- The “Free Stuff” Call or Visit: Someone calls, or shows up at your door, offering “free” medical supplies or equipment. The dead giveaway is if they ask for your Medicare number. Again, NEVER give out your Medicare number to anyone except your doctor or provider.
- The “You Get a Refund” Call: Someone claiming to be from Medicare tells you that “the rules have changed”, and as a result, you’re entitled to a cash refund. This scenario is ALWAYS a scam. Remember: Medicare does all their regular business through the mail.
4.) Be Wary of “Free” Health Products or Services
Just like at any other time in life, if someone is giving something away for free, there is almost always a catch. As we mentioned above, “free” products or services offered to Medicare beneficiaries is likely a scam to try to steal your Medicare number.
5.) Review and Verify Your Medicare Statements
Whether it’s a scam or an honest mistake, your Medicare statement is a place where you can catch incorrect or “made up” charges. Review your Medicare statements carefully, and keep a separate record of your health activity over the year so you can compare and contrast.
Medicare Fraud Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]
Q: How do I Stop Fake Medicare Calls?
A: The first step to stopping fake Medicare calls is to add your phone number to the FTC’s do not call list. To register your phone number, call 1-888-382-1222.
Q: Does Medicare Call About New Cards?
A: Medicare does not make phone calls to inform beneficiaries about new cards. In general, the only time that Medicare will call you is if you called them first, or specifically requested help.
If someone calls you about your Medicare card, it is likely a scam.
Q: What Can a Scammer Do With My Medicare Number?
A: If a scammer gets your Medicare number, they can use it to commit Medicare fraud. This is a form of identity theft in which the scammer uses your Medicare plan to pay for their own health claims.
Q: Are Medicare Calls Legit?
A: Medicare does not usually make phone calls to beneficiaries, unless the beneficiary has called them first, or specifically requested assistance. If you get a call from someone claiming to be from Medicare and you did not contact them first, it could be a fraudster. Hang up and call your Medicare plan provider to verify.
Q: How do I Report Medicare Fraud?
A: To report suspected Medicare fraud or abuse, call the Medicare helpline at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or visit the Medicare.gov website.
Get Help with Your Medicare Plan
We’re here to help. If you need to change plans, find better rates, or get more comprehensive coverage, give us a call at 800-913-3416.
Here are some additional articles on Medicare supplements: 5 Things to Know About the 2023 Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage Rule Change | How to Avoid this Costly Medicare Mistake
Here are some additional pages related to this article: Open Enrollment Dates & Deadlines for Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage Plans | FAQ About Medicare: What Does Medicare Cover?
Tom Lockwood is a Personal Benefits Manager at MediGap Advisors. Tom has a passion for bringing clarity to those confused about Medicare. He is an authority on Medicare, Medicare supplement plans, Medicare Advantage plans, and Part D prescription drug plans. Read more about Tom on his Bio page.