Guarding your Medicare card is essential to preventing Medicare fraud. In fact, it is the single most important thing you can do! This is because your Medicare card lists your Medicare number. And like your Social Security number, your Medicare number is unique to you and sharing your number can put you at risk of identity theft.
A Real Life Story of Genetic Test Fraud Case: Carol
Carol is a Medicare recipient and is retired. One day, she receives a call from someone claiming to be calling from Medicare. They tell Carol about an opportunity to get a free genetic test that can help screen for cancer. The caller asks Carol to share her Medicare number so that they may bill Medicare—at no cost to her. This seems like a good deal, and Carol shares with the caller that cancer runs in her family. She provides her Medicare number and waits to receive her free genetic test.
Weeks later, Carol is reviewing her Medicare statement noticed a charge for $6,000 for a genetic test that was not approved by Medicare. The caller had lied to Carol about being from Medicare and was able to convince her that this unnecessary genetic testing kit order was approved by Medicare. Now, Carol, just like thousands of other Medicare beneficiaries must pay this fraudulent charge.
Every year, Medicare beneficiaries fall victim to Medicare scams, like the “free” genetic test scam, and beneficiaries, their families, and taxpayers must foot the bill to pay for these costly scams. Here are some things to keep in mind so that you can avoid being a victim of Medicare fraud:
- NEVER share your Medicare number. Medicare will never call you to ask for or to confirm your Medicare number. If you have doubts, hang up the phone and dial 1-800-MEDICARE yourself and report the incident. The longer you stay on the phone with the caller, the greater the risk.
- Only carry your Medicare card for doctor appointments and other medical visits. If you are not required to present your Medicare card at doctor appointments and other medical visits, it is safer to keep your Medicare card at home, so that you don’t risk losing it or having it fall into the wrong hands.
Tune in next month to learn more about ways to avoid potential scams and keeping your Medicare card safe!