Double Helix Deception: The Return of Genetic Testing Scams in Medicare Fraud

genetic testing scams, DNA structure with magnifying glass

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 8, 2024

For more information, contact: Catherina Isidro, California Senior Medicare Patrol Statewide Director, cisidro@cahealthadvocates.org , 916-465-8104

Double Helix Deception: The Return of Genetic Testing Scams in Medicare Fraud

Sacramento, CA — One of the biggest scams targeting Medicare beneficiaries in the last decade has been the genetic testing scam. Recently, the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) has seen an increase in genetic testing complaints. Across the nation, genetic testing company representatives are offering “free” genetic tests, also referred to as DNA screenings, cancer screenings, and hereditary testing, in exchange for the beneficiaries’ Medicare numbers.

Beneficiaries are getting calls about genetic tests claiming that the results will help them avoid or detect diseases like cancer or Alzheimer’s. The SMP has also received reports of genetic testing claims on Medicare statements when the beneficiaries never received any contact about genetic testing. It is incredibly important to review your Medicare statements and report these claims.

The genetic testing scam can be dangerous. “Scammers can steal people’s medical identity and falsely bill Medicare (around $10,000 a claim), draining the Medicare program. Additionally, tests ordered under these circumstances could lead to confusion and inaccurate medical records which can harm beneficiaries,” said Catherina Isidro, California’s Senior Medicare Patrol Statewide Director.

The SMP recommends that you:

  • Go to your own doctor to assess your condition, not a doctor on the phone you’ve never met from a company you don’t know. 
  • Always read your Medicare statements. The words “gene analysis” or “molecular pathology” as service codes may indicate questionable genetic testing. More information about reading Medicare statements can be found at smpresource.org/you-can-help/read-your-medicare-statements/.
  • Be suspicious of anyone who calls you requesting health care information or confirmation of your Medicare number.
  • Read, download and share SMP fraud alerts and other materials in multiple languages on genetic testing scams.
  • Contact our California SMP for help at 1-855-613-7080. SMPs empower and assist Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers to prevent, detect, and report health care fraud, errors, and abuse. 

California Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) is ready to provide you with the information you need to PROTECT yourself from Medicare fraud, errors, and abuse; DETECT potential fraud, errors, and abuse; and REPORT your concerns. SMPs across the country help educate and empower Medicare beneficiaries in the fight against health care fraud. California SMP can help you with your questions, concerns, or complaints about potential fraud and abuse issues. It also provides information and educational presentations. Call us at 1-855-613-7080, or visit us online at CaliforniaSMP.org. To locate the local Senior Medicare Patrol in a different state, contact 1-877-808-2468 or go to www.smpresource.org.

Genetic testing scam graphic

Karen Joy Fletcher

Our blogger Karen Joy Fletcher is CHA’s Communications Director. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she is the online “public face” of the organization, provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare and other health care issues. She is responsible for digital content creation, management of CHA’s editorial calendar, and managing all aspects of CHA’s social media presence. She loves being a “communicator” and enjoys networking and collaborating with the passionate people and agencies in the health advocacy field. See her current articles.