Each year the Federal government pays out tens of billions of dollars from the Medicare and Medicaid coffers because of fraud. With the number of seniors only expected to increase as humans begin to live longer than ever before, and the baby boomers age into their retirement years, the frequency of, and amounts lost to fraud, is expected to increase as well.
So how can you protect yourself? The number of scams by which Medicare and Medicaid funds are obtained fraudulently is mind-boggling, but there are some steps you can take to lessen or prevent becoming a victim of such fraud.
The FBI recommends that you: never sign a blank insurance claim form, or give blanket authorization to a medical provider to bill for services rendered; ask how much a provider will charge and how much you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket; review your statements for any billing discrepancies, and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you find some; know whether your doctor has ordered any equipment for you; keep an accurate record of all your health care appointments, and store this record where it is easily accessible; and, don’t do business with a door-to-door salesperson who claims to be able to provide you with free medical equipment or services.
Additionally, you should be aware of telephone callers who pretend to represent providers of Medicare Part D, in order to obtain your personal data for use in committing identity fraud. People who actually represent Part D plans won’t call you to update information, ask for payment, or show up at your home uninvited.