Medicare fraud prevention week is almost here – Week of June 5th

Medicare Fraud Prevention Week

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 16, 2024

For more information, contact: Karen Joy Fletcher, Communications Director, 206-713-5147, kfletcher@cahealthadvocates.org 

Medicare fraud prevention week is almost here – Week of June 5th

Sacramento, CA — Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60-80 billion per year. It also costs Medicare beneficiaries in time, stress, their medical identities, and potentially their health. It costs families, friends, and caregivers in worry and lost work when helping their loved ones recover from falling victim to Medicare fraud.

Medicare fraud has a devastating impact on both beneficiaries and the Medicare program. And at our California Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP), we teach people how to avoid experiencing Medicare fraud. By preventing fraud from happening, this program helps individuals and protects the Medicare program for generations to come.

You can learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones by joining Senior Medicare Patrols (SMPs) throughout the country and their partners for our third annual Medicare Fraud Prevention Week, held the week of June 5, 2024. This observance runs through 6/5, or “6-5,” because most people become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65 years old. 

“We’re passionate about teaching people both about how to protect themselves from Medicare fraud and about the services that the Senior Medicare Patrol program offers. With this event in its 3rd year, we hope that people will remember the numbers ‘6-5’ to help us celebrate Medicare Fraud Prevention Week” said Catherina Isidro, our California SMP Project Director and Executive Director of California Health Advocates.

Everyone plays a part in the fight against fraud. During Medicare Fraud Prevention Week:

  • Medicare beneficiaries can monitor their insurance statements to make sure products and services received match what is on the statements. They can request free My Health Care Trackers from their local SMP.
  • Caregivers can help by being on the lookout for items such as durable medical equipment (like boxes of knee braces) lying around the house that may have been shipped to the beneficiary without their or their doctor’s approval. They can remind their client or loved one to never give out their Medicare number or other personal information over the phone.
  • Families can help by talking to their loved ones about protecting their Medicare number just as they would a credit card number. They can help their loved ones create a Medicare.gov account to access their Medicare statements online or remind them to open and review them when they come in the mail. They can also register their phone number on “do not call” lists and go to prescreen.com to opt out of mailings.
  • Partners and professionals can help by sharing SMP information on social media, referring clients and consumers to the SMP, and inviting the SMP to speak during a shared event. 
  • Health care providers can help by talking to patients about health care-related scams such as those related to durable medical equipment and genetic testing schemes. They can remind them that products and services should only be ordered by physicians they regularly see. Needed medical items should never be ordered through TV ads or unsolicited calls.
  • Community members can help by looking out for older neighbors. When in public, they can be aware of older individuals purchasing gift cards in large amounts. They can encourage those they know to talk to a trusted source about their Medicare questions and tell neighbors about the most recent Medicare scams. They can even consider volunteering with the local SMP!

Our California Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) is ready to provide you with the information you need to PREVENT Medicare fraud, errors, and abuse; DETECT potential fraud, errors, and abuse; and REPORT your concerns to our helpline at 1-855-613-7080. Our SMP works to educate and empower people in the fight against health care fraud, and can help you with your questions, concerns, or complaints about potential fraud and abuse issues. We also provide free education presentations, and have a plethora of free educational materials. See our Fraud Alerts for info on recent scams, and click on our “Order Now” section to order some supplies. And call us at 1-855-613-7080 to schedule a presentation.

See the SMP National Resource Center’s webpage on Medicare Fraud Prevention Week for more information. Also, view and share our eight flyers in English, Chinese and Spanish with tips for each day of MFPW.

Together we can prevent Medicare fraud and spread smiles!

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California Health Advocates is an independent non-profit organization that provides accurate and timely Medicare and related health care coverage information, education, and policy advocacy. CHA is the grantee of the California Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) project, funded by the Administration for Community Living (ACL). California SMP, and all SMPs around the country, empower and assist people with Medicare and Medicaid to avoid, detect, and report healthcare fraud. CHA also provides community organizations and government agencies with up-to-date information, and in particular to the 24 local HICAPs that provide individual benefits counseling and community education directly to Medicare beneficiaries and their families. For more information, visit its website at cahealthadvocates.org

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.