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SMP Sees Cardiovascular Genetic Testing Used in New Fraud Trend

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 30, 2021

For more information, contact: Micki Nozaki, SMP Project Director, 949-215-5660, mnozaki@cahealthadvocates.org

SMP Sees Cardiovascular Genetic Testing Used in New Fraud Trend

Every time there’s a medical advance, there’s a scammer waiting around the corner to exploit it.  

The latest growing genetic testing fraud trend focuses on cardiovascular genetic testing. Scammers are offering Medicare beneficiaries genetic testing cheek swabs to obtain their Medicare information for fraudulent billing purposes or possibly medical identity theft. The scams may be called many things such as cardio genetic testing; comprehensive cardiovascular panel; hereditary cardiovascular profile.

“We’re hearing reports of scammers calling Medicare beneficiaries, claiming their cardiologist wants them to have this test and offering to send a kit. In reality, their cardiologist did not make any such request,” said Micki Nozaki, Director, California Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP). “Their goal is not to help the beneficiary; it’s to get their Medicare information, which scammers can use to bill Medicare for medically unnecessary genetic testing.”

“The repercussions of falling for a scam of this nature can be devastating. If Medicare denies a cardiovascular genetic test claim, a beneficiary might be responsible for the entire cost of the test: The average cost is $9,000 to $11,000,” said Nozaki. 

Cardiovascular genetic testing is covered by Medicare when the test is medically reasonable and necessary, when it is ordered by a treating physician, and when a treating physician orders the test as a diagnostic service and uses the results to manage the patient’s condition. 

The 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. Contact our California Senior Medicare Patrol at 855-613-7080.

See our consumer fraud prevention tip sheet (tips are also shared below). Please share and distribute widely.

Tips to Stop Cardiovascular Genetic Testing Fraud

To stop cardiovascular genetic testing fraud: 

  • Be sure your doctor has assessed your condition. Although Medicare covers many genetic tests to detect heart disease, these tests do not predict or screen for cardiovascular disease (aka the diseases that affect the heart or blood vessels).
  • Do not give out your personal information to anyone who calls you and claims that your cardiologist has requested cardiovascular testing.
  • Do not give out your personal information or accept screening services from anyone at a community event, local fair, farmers’ market, parking lot, or any other public event.
  • Always read your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) or Explanation of Benefits (EOB). The words “gene analysis,” “molecular pathology,” or “laboratory” may indicate questionable genetic testing has occurred.
  • If you received a cardiovascular genetic testing kit or test that was not medically necessary, report your concerns about billing errors or possible fraud and abuse to your local SMP at 855-613-7080.

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California Health Advocates is an independent non-profit organization that provides quality Medicare and related health care coverage information, education and policy advocacy. SMP volunteers are available in each county through local advocacy agencies including the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP), which provides benefits counseling and community education directly to those with Medicare and their families. For more information on CHA, SMP and HICAP, visit CHA’s website at cahealthadvocates.org.

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