Usually we tell people that Medicare will neither call you nor show up at your door. If either of these things happen, it’s a red flag for fraud. Yet, just like most things, there is an exception.
Each year the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) adds less than 30,000 beneficiaries to their sample. To do this, they contact selected beneficiaries, first by phone and then with a letter in the mail. This outreach is then followed by an in-person visit or telephone interview. So while in most cases, it is true that Medicare will neither call you or show up at your door, for the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey selected beneficiaries may well legitimately experience both. Note: the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) contracts with NORC, a respected social science research organization with the University of Chicago, to conduct the survey. Therefore the professional interviewers that contact selected beneficiaries may mention their affiliation with NORC, the MCBS and Medicare.
What is MCBS? What is the survey used for?
The MCBS is the leading source of information on the Medicare program. It helps legislators and policy makers better understand the needs, costs and experiences of people who are covered by Medicare to help improve the Medicare program. This survey has been continuously conducted since 1991, and more than 1.2 million interviews have been conducted since the beginning.
How to prevent fraud
With Medicare fraud and scams on the rise, fraudsters could easily use this annual survey to con unsuspecting beneficiaries into giving them their personal and medical identity information. Yet, to protect beneficiaries, the CMS has created ways for contacted beneficiaries to:
- Verify their participation in the survey (that Medicare has selected them), and
- Verify the legitimacy of their interviewer.
To verify their participation in the survey, beneficiaries can call 1-800-MEDICARE, as all the selected beneficiaries are in the Medicare system. They can also confirm that the letter they received matches the letter posted at Medicare.gov – MCBS Selection Letter.
To verify the legitimacy of the surveyor/interviewer and the study itself, NORC, the contractor for the MCBS has launched a respondent care page. Additionally, if a beneficiary contacts any of the CMS Regional Offices or 1-800-MEDICARE, the staff can assist the beneficiary/respondent if they have the interviewer ID number and interviewer’s last name.
If the beneficiary has the interviewer ID# from the interviewer’s badge as well as their last name, they can look up a copy of the interviewer’s badge and verify they are in the study.
Clicking on the survey link below will take an individual directly to the study page at NORC and additionally to the CMS website: http://www.norc.org/WorkingWithNORC/Pages/survey-participants.aspx.
Beneficiaries with questions about this survey can also contact their local Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP).
Additional links for more information:
- MCBS and participation information from NORC: https://mcbs.norc.org/
- CMS’ page on MCBS and links to past year’s data: https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Research/MCBS/index.html?redirect=/mcbs