Medicare fraud is an ever-growing problem that’s estimated to cost the government up to $60 billion every year. Fraud is so rampant that it accounts for anywhere from 3 percent to 12 percent of all Medicare spending. Unfortunately, millions of seniors fall victim to Medicare fraud and identity theft every year. As an El Dorado County caregiver, it’s important to watch for signs of fraud and abuse to protect your elderly loved one.
Say “No” to Free Services
Many cases of Medicare fraud or abuse involve physicians or other health care professionals offering seniors a “free” service of some sort. While the senior may not pay anything, their insurance will. This scam is so common because insurers are required to pay claims within 30 days, meaning that by the time the insurer has the time to scrutinize the claim, the money is already paid out.
There are many examples of this type of Medicare scam. Medical equipment suppliers, for example, may give out free cheap braces to seniors then bill Medicare for more expensive braces. A podiatrist may offer free pedicures to seniors in a nursing facility then bill Medicare for foot surgeries.
Leading providers of elder care in El Dorado County encourage caregivers to be suspicious of any medical supplier, doctor, or health care provider who:
- Asks for your loved one’s Medicare number in exchange for free equipment or free services
- Advertises free consultations for seniors with Medicare
- Offers services over the phone or door-to-door
- Uses high-pressure sales tactics
- Bills Medicare for services you did not receive
Protect Private Information
Many seniors fall victim to identity theft where the thief uses the senior’s personal information and medical identity to submit false claims. Once a thief has someone’s insurance information, the thief can use it to submit bogus Medicare claims.
Fight identity theft by protecting your loved one’s personal information and Medicare number. Do not give out information to anyone calling over the phone or knocking on the door uninvited. Only give personal information to Medicare-approved providers, and keep in mind official Medicare business is always done by mail.
Learn more about promoting senior safety and overall wellness from the knowledgeable staff at Home Care Assistance. We are known for our exceptional live-in and part-time home care for El Dorado County seniors that provides senior citizens with the support necessary to safely and comfortably age in place. Call our office today at (916) 358-3801 or (530) 409-4411 and request a complimentary in-home consultation.