Guard Your Card: Protect yourself and Medicare from fraud
Treat your Medicare card and number like a credit card number. Only give it out if you sign up in a new Medicare plan or to doctors and providers for care. Be careful when others ask for your Medicare Number or offer free services if you give it. Never give out your Medicare Number over the phone to unknown or unexpected callers.
What’s Medicare fraud?
Medicare fraud is when people or companies get payments from Medicare under false or illegal pretenses. Anyone can commit or be involved in fraud, such as doctors, providers, and even Medicare recipients.
Fraud victims face fiscal liability and compromised medical and insurance records. This can set the stage for problems in the future. This is why you need to protect yourself against Medicare fraud. A fraudulent act done in your name may not impact you right away. It can become a big problem at the point of your greatest need.
How can a doctor commit Medicare fraud?
- Bill Medicare for care you never got
- Bill Medicare for services other than what you got
- Keep billing Medicare for rented medical equipment after you turned it in
- Offer or do services you don’t need
- Tell you Medicare will pay for things it won’t
- Use some other person’s Medicare number or card
Ways to stop Medicare fraud
- Guard your card. Only give your Medicare Number to doctors, pharmacists, your insurers, or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf.
- Protect your medical information. Be careful if people other than doctors or medical experts want to see your medical records or suggest services.
- Learn more about Medicare’s coverage rules. Be careful if a doctor tells you there’s a way for Medicare to cover a service not often covered.
- Don’t get services you don’t need. If a doctor urges you to get tests or other services you feel aren’t needed, say “no thank you.” Get a second point of view from some other doctor.
- Be skeptical. It doesn’t hurt to be wary if a doctor says Medicare will pay for services that don’t seem needed for good health. Mud treatments, Swedish massages, and dance classes are some services in past fraud cases. Use your best sense and see Medicare’s coverage rules.
This article originally appeared in the Health Alliance Plan blog, read more here.