Medicare Beneficiaries: Don’t become a Victim of a Scam
SHIIP Monthly Column – February 2014
Contact: Kerry Hall919–807-6011
In the world of internet, e-mail, phone calls, blogs and the postal service, Medicare beneficiaries are bombarded with advertisements about free medical services, free equipment and more. Other times, Medicare beneficiaries receive frightening post cards that lead them to believe they will lose their benefits if they don’t respond and provide personal information.
Beware of products that seem too good to be true; they usually are. And if someone is using scare tactics to get you to buy something or share your personal information, you may be the target of a Medicare scam.
Every day, there are people coming up with ways to defraud the Medicare system and its beneficiaries. They may call you on the phone, come to your home unannounced or send you information through the mail or email.
How can you protect yourself? Do not give anyone personal information such as your Medicare number, Social Security number, or banking and financial information. Medicare will not call you and ask you to verify your claim number for them. If someone claims to be from Medicare and calls you to verify your claim number, it’s a scam!
When you do have to provide your Medicare card, such as at a visit to your medical provider, turn the card face down to hand to the receptionist so no one else can see your number or capture your number with their camera phone.
If you suspect Medicare fraud or a scam, you should contact your local Senior Medicare Patrol Program. The North Carolina Senior Medicare Patrol Program is housed with the North Carolina Department of Insurance’s Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program. The purpose of the Senior Medicare Patrol program is to provide Medicare fraud prevention education and counseling to the 1.6 million Medicare beneficiaries in North Carolina.
NCSMP operates a toll-free, confidential consumer line, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you suspect you have been a victim of Medicare fraud or a scam, call 1-877-99NCSMP (1-877-996-2767) today. Together we can empower Medicare beneficiaries to prevent health care fraud. For more information or to set up an appointment in Currituck please contact Olivia Jones via e-mail at Olivia_jones@ncsu.edu or 252-232-2261.
The North Carolina Senior Medicare Patrol Program receives federal grant funding from the Administration for Community Living at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. There are no charges for the services of NCSMP, and NCSMP does not sell any products. This article was supported, in part, by grant number 90SP0080, the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.