Tips to Protect Against Medicare Fraud
- Protect your insurance and Medicare cards just like you do your bank card, credit card or Social Security card. Don’t give out the card numbers to anyone except people you know and trust, such as your healthcare provider, insurance company, Medicare or community agencies that work with Medicare, such as your state’s Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP Hawaii) or other legitimate state agencies. Keep your Medicare card in a safe place.
- Report a lost or stolen membership card to your insurance company or Medicare right away.
- Shred all documents with personal information before throwing them away.
- Be suspicious of anyone offering you free medical equipment or services but requests your Medicare number, especially over the phone, on T.V., in junk mail, on-line or in-person. If you need medical equipment or services, ask someone you know and trust, such as your doctor.
- Don’t allow anyone to borrow or pay to use your Medicare card or personal information.
- If individuals call and ask for your insurance or Medicare information, hang up. Beware if someone seems to know part of your Medicare number and asks you to give out the rest. Be suspicious if they say they represent Medicare. Remember: Medicare and other government agencies will never call you to ask you for your Medicare number; Medicare already knows your number. However, if you called Medicare first, they may ask you for your Medicare number to verify your identity.
- Don’t do business with salespersons who offer “free” products or say-they can help you “get around” Medicare rules. They may be trying to use your Medicare number to bill Medicare for the “free” product, or they may be trying to steal your Medicare number to commit fraud.
- Make sure you understand what’s in a document before you sign it. If you need an interpreter—language or sign—ask for one. Never sign a blank medical or insurance form.
- Pay attention to your gut feeling about people who are trying to sell you something or get personal information from you. Remember, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it may be a scam.
If you suspect Medicare Fraud is occurring please feel free to report it here today. “Medicare fraud is defined as knowingly and willfully executing, or attempting to execute, a scheme or ploy to defraud the Medicare program or obtaining information by means of false pretenses, deception, or misrepresentation in order to receive inappropriate payment from the Medicare program.”