Fraud Alert: Medicare Enrollment

Medicare Open Enrollment has closed for 2020 plans, but the Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) wants to remind you to protect yourself from healthcare fraud during this time when marketers will try to get your attention.

Even though your Medicare card no longer contains your Social Security number, it’s still valuable information for unscrupulous people who would use it fraudulently. Scammers are after medical insurance and financial account information and passwords for their monetary gain. That’s why you should still guard your Medicare card. Treat it like a credit card. Check Medicare claims summary forms for errors. Be wary of requests for your Medicare number.

Medicare will never call you to ask for your Medicare number. If someone calls you claiming to be Medicare and asking for your number, hang up the phone. Also, if someone wants to use your Medicare number to see whether you might be a good fit for a particular Part D or Medicare advantage plan, be wary of giving out the Medicare information. Make sure you trust the person who is asking for it.

The Missouri SMP works closely with CLAIM, the Missouri State Health Insurance Assistance Program. If you want to get free, unbiased information about Medicare, you can call CLAIM at 1-800-390-3330. CLAIM will connect you to the nearest local CLAIM Medicare counselor.

Here are some more tips:

•Never accept medical supplies from a door-to-door salesman. Medicare and Medicaid do not send representatives to your home.

•Never give your Medicare card, Medicare number, Social Security card, or Social Security number to anyone except your doctor or people you know should have it.

•Remember, nothing is ever “free.” Never accept offers of money or gifts for free medical care.

•Be wary of providers who tell you that the item or service isn’t usually covered, but they “know how to bill Medicare” so Medicare will pay.

•Always check your medications before leaving the pharmacy to be sure you received the correct medication prescribed.

•Never submit to cheek swabs from providers you do not know. DNA fraud is on the rise. If you want a DNA/genetic/cancer screening, you should talk to your primary care doctor.

As always, report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri SMP at 1-888-515-6565.

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