Scammers are targeting Medicare beneficiaries through cold calls, health fairs, and even going door to door. These people are claiming to be from Medicare and are offering “free” genetic testing for cancer and medicine interaction. Medicare beneficiaries who agree to the testing may get a cheek swab done right then and there or a kit may be mailed to them.
The goal is to get your Medicare number so they can use it for fraudulent purposes. You could be responsible for the entire cost of the testing, which can range anywhere from $6,000 to $9,000, up to $20,000+. There have been as many as 50 reports to the Medicare Fraud line a week.
Ways to Protect Yourself
- Do not agree to genetic testing unless it’s from a doctor you know and trust. If a genetic test is mailed to you, return it to sender, but keep a record of the name and date.
- Do not give your Medicare information out to anyone offering a “free” genetic testing, not if they come to your door, ask for it over the phone, or if it’s at a seemingly credible health fair. Medicare is not offering any free genetic testing.
- If anyone other than someone from your doctors’ offices asks for your Medicare information, do not give it out. You should only give that information out to the providers you trust.
- If you suspect Medicare fraud, call 1-800-MEDICARE and report it.
Don’t give into intimidation or scare tactics. Say no or remove yourself from the situation. Be aware of who you’re giving your information to and make sure they’re credible first. If it seems suspicious, it probably is.
Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage.