Open Enrollment for 2012 begins on Saturday, October 15, and ends on Wednesday, December 7, 2011.
Yesterday I discussed the importance of being alert to Medicare fraud and scams, particularly this time of year when Medicare Part D marketing is in full swing. According to a 2010 Nightline investigation, Medicare fraud costsU.S.taxpayers more than $60 billion a year. Yes, billions with a “b.”
To help you better identify fraud and protect yourself—and others—from being scammed, here are a few things to be on the alert for at all times:
- You’re asked for money or for your personal information (e.g., Medicare
or Social Security numbers, bank account number, credit card number, etc.) by someone pretending to represent Medicare, Social Security, and/or a Medicare plan sponsor.
- Another person asks to use your Medicare prescription drug card to obtain drugs at the pharmacy.
- You’re asked to sell your Medicare prescription drug card.
- Several payers (insurance plans), including Medicare Part D, are billed for the entire cost of the same prescription.
- Your Explanation of Benefits (EOB) statement or Medicare Summary Notice lists prescriptions for medications you are not taking or services that were not ordered by you or your doctor.
In addition to being on the alert, you should also carefully review and keep records of your health care visits, services, prescriptions filled, medical equipment provided, significant lab work, etc. It’s also important to file copies of any bills or notices from insurance companies, doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, etc., as well as your canceled checks. Then every time an EOB statement arrives in the mail, read through it carefully and compare it to your receipts to make sure everything is correct.
To learn more about you can help stop Medicare fraud, visit the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Stop Medicare Fraud website. The site has answers to frequently asked questions, as well as important information to help you better understand your EOB statements and find out what to look for in these documents.
The Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP)
If you want to get even more proactive in the fight against Medicare fraud, consider becoming a volunteer with the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP). SMP is a group of highly trained volunteers who help beneficiaries avoid, detect, and prevent health care fraud. There are SMPs in every state and many U.S. territories—to find the SMP nearest you, click here.