SMP Educates on Latest Fraud Trends

SMP Educates on Latest Fraud Trends

Wondering what the latest Medicare fraud trends in California are? Well here’s an update from our California Senior Medicare Patrol team.

 

Agent Misconduct.

As a quick reminder, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ marketing rules do NOT allow unsolicited phone calls, emails or home visits. If you or someone you know experiences any such misconduct, call our California Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-855-613-7080.

 

Questionable Hospice Fraud. 

  • Beneficiaries residing in low-income housing units and room and board facilities are offered assistance with cooking and cleaning while unknowingly placed into hospice. These cases are being reported by Medicare beneficiaries who have detected hospice claims on their Medicare Summary Notices (MSNs).
  • Beneficiaries are offered “free milk for an entire year covered by Medicare!” Those who accept are then unknowingly placed on
    hospice.
  • Beneficiaries are offered a “free hospice trial period”.
  • Beneficiaries receive cold calls offering additional benefits for low-income Medicare beneficiaries. Their Medicare numbers are requested, and weeks later, a nurse show up at their home, and the  beneficiary is unknowingly placed into hospice.

If you or someone you know receives any such offers, say no and report it to our SMP.

 

Postcards, TV commercials, ads offering a “free” Medicare approved back brace in exchange for your Medicare number.

Remember, Medicare only covers braces and other durable medical equipment (DME) that  is medically necessary with a doctor’s prescription. Scammers, however, hope you don’t know that. They just want your Medicare number to bill Medicare for equipment you never receive, or to bill Medicare for much more expensive equipment than you receive. If you think you need a back or knee brace, call your doctor first.

 

Help us spread the word on Medicare fraud prevention. May 15th is National Senior Fraud Awareness Day! One way to spread awareness is to order some of our free SMP placemats for you, your family, friends, co-workers and/or clients. These provide a great review and reminder of common scams, red flags for scams and simple prevention tips.

SMP-ScamPyramid-front

SMP-ScamsPlacement-back

We also have SMP new Medicare card bookmarks available in English,
Spanish, Tagalog, Chinese, Korean, Hmong, Armenian, Vietnamese, Russian and Punjabi. These remind people of the new cards coming and to beware of scams. Remember, these cards are free and will be mailed at no cost to the beneficiary. Also, Medicare already has your information and will not call you to “verify your Medicare number or personal information”, before sending you your new card.

To place an order for the placemats or bookmarks, please contact our Operations Director, Jasmine Suo at jsuo@cahealthadvocates.org.

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.