Beware of COVID-19 Scams & Learn About Medicare Coronavirus Coverage & Guidance from Government Agencies

Beware of COVID-19 Scams & Learn About Medicare Coronavirus Coverage & Guidance from Government Agencies

Scams are already underway regarding the coronavirus. We’ve heard a report of someone receiving a robocall that used COVID-19 as a scare tactic to get the caller to act to “keep your family safe”. Scammers are always looking for new opportunities for fraud, and given the current uncertainty and anxiety people across the country have about COVID-19, this is an area ripe for new scams.

 

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also recently issued a warning about companies selling fraudulent products to “treat” or “cure” COVID-19.

 

Just as for all other Medicare scam and fraud prevention, remember to never give out your personal information over the phone to any unsolicited callers.

 

Also, to protect yourself from COVID-19, follow some simple but effective guidelines available in English and Spanish outlined by the Administration on Community Living on how to stay well, precautions to take, and what to do if respiratory symptoms develop: What do Older Adults and People with Disabilities Need to Know about COVID-19? This webpage is updated regularly with information from the Center for Disease Control, guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), scams alerts from the Federal Trade Commission and more.

 

Medicare now covers the complete costs of COVID-19 tests and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has also just issued new guidance for Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans regarding flexibilities to increase access to treatment and obligations of coverage when a state has formally declared an emergency. They also updated their guidance for nursing home visitations, and issued guidance for dialysis centers, home health agencies, hospice agencies and more. For detailed information, see CMS’ webpage on all COVID-19 action, updates and guidance.

 

If you have questions or complications arise regarding coverage for any COVID-19 related treatments or tests, call your local Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP). If you come across a COVID-19 phone scam or other kind of scam, hang up and report it to our California Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-855-613-7080.

Karen Fletcher
Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.