POTENTIAL FRAUD ALERT: Cancer & Genetic Screening Offer

If you have been approached by individuals offering free DNA, genetic or cancer testing, please understand that THIS COULD BE A SCAM. Here’s how the scheme generally works: A person or group holds an informational session, or goes door-to-door in senior housing complexes, and implies that DNA or genetic testing could help individuals determine their risk for cancer; assist with medication management; or provide various other health benefits.

Some people have also been known to contact seniors by phone and send a “testing kit” by mail after collecting that person’s private Medicare information. The people making the presentations indicate that the tests are free if you are covered by Medicare, and that all they require is a copy of your Medicare card and a swab from the inside of your cheek.

What happens next is where the problem comes in. The presenters take the information and bill Medicare $3,000 for genetic screening.

BEWARE OF THIS POTENTIAL SCAM. Medicare only covers genetic screening in very limited circumstances. You should only receive testing that has been ordered or prescribed by a physician, and should not agree to submit to such testing after a group meeting unless your personal physician has approved of such a procedure. 

Not only could this be considered Medicare fraud, but unscrupulous people could use your personal information to file additional false claims using your private Medicare information.

If you are approached to participate in such a testing program, immediately contact your doctor or other trusted friend or authority. In Missouri, The Senior Medical Patrol has been tracking this potential scam and would like to know if it is occurring in your area. “Out-of-the-blue genetic or DNA testing is not free and is not routinely covered for all Medicare patients”, according to Rona McNally, Director of the Missouri SMP.

There are some instances where such testing is legitimate and necessary, but you should only agree to such testing after consulting with your doctor or trusted specialist.

Medicare beneficiaries who believe they have been victims of such fraud should report suspected cases to the Missouri SMP at 1-888-515-6565.

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