Medicare Fraud Prevention Week teaches everyone how to prevent fraud
The Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) is joining the rest of the nation in commemorating the first-ever Medicare Fraud Prevention Week June 5 to June 11.
The event kicked off in Missouri with a statewide Facebook Live town hall on June 6. During the town hall, the Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol presented the most prevalent types of Medicare Fraud in 2022 and the most important ways to detect and prevent it.
Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion per year. It costs Medicare beneficiaries in time, stress, their medical identities, and potentially their health. It costs families, friends, and caregivers in worry and lost work when helping their loved ones recover from falling victim to Medicare fraud.
“Medicare fraud has a devastating impact on both beneficiaries and the Medicare program,” said Rona McNally, Director of the Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol. “We teach people how to avoid experiencing Medicare fraud. By preventing fraud from happening, this program helps individuals and protects the Medicare program for generations to come.”
The national observation kicks off on June 5, or “6-5,” because most people become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65 years old.
“Medicare Fraud Prevention Week was created in conjunction with the SMP program turning 25 years old in June 2022. We’re excited to teach people both about how to protect themselves from Medicare fraud and about the services that the Senior Medicare Patrol program offers. We hope that people will remember the numbers ‘6-5’ to help us celebrate Medicare Fraud Prevention Week,” McNally said.
To bring its messages to older adults year round, the Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol partners with the Missouri Association of Area Agencies on Aging, the Long-term Care Ombudsman Program and CLAIM, the State Health Insurance Assistance Program.
Everyone plays a part in the fight against fraud. During Medicare Fraud Prevention Week:
•Medicare beneficiaries can monitor their insurance statements to make sure products and services received match what is on the statements. They can request free “My Health Care Trackers” from the Missouri SMP by calling 1-888-515-6565.
•Caregivers can help by being on the lookout for items such as durable medical equipment (like boxes of knee braces) lying around the house that may have been shipped to beneficiaries without their or their doctors’ approval. They can remind their clients or loved ones to never give out their Medicare number or other personal information over the phone.
•Families can help by talking to their loved ones about protecting their Medicare number just as they would a credit card number. They can help their loved ones create a Medicare.gov account to access their Medicare statements online or remind them to open and review them when they come in the mail. They also can register their phone number on “do not call” lists and go to prescreen.com to opt out of mailings.
•Partners and professionals can help by sharing SMP information on social media, referring clients and consumers to the SMP, and inviting the SMP to speak during a shared event.
•Health care providers can help by talking to patients about health care-related scams such as those related to durable medical equipment and genetic testing schemes. They can remind them that products and services should only be ordered by physicians they regularly see. Needed medical items should never be ordered through TV ads or unsolicited calls.
•Community members can help by looking out for older neighbors. When in public, they can be aware of older individuals purchasing gift cards in large amounts. They can encourage those they know to talk to a trusted source about their Medicare questions and tell neighbors about the most recent Medicare scams. They can even consider volunteering with the Missour SMP.
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. SMPs help educate and empower Medicare beneficiaries in the fight against health care fraud. The SMP can address questions, concerns, or complaints about potential fraud and abuse issues. It also provides information and educational presentations. To report potential fraud, errors, and abuse, call the Missouri SMP at 1-888-515-6565.
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