February 2019 Fraud Prevention Fact

This month’s Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) Fraud Fact is to remind you to guard your new Medicare card. The mailing of the new Medicare cards is finished, but that doesn’t mean the scammers are done trying to steal your personal information. One way that they do that is by calling your home with an offer for free lamination of your new Medicare card. The scammers may ask you to send in your new card to have it laminated or to give them your new Medicare number so that they can send you a laminated card.
While the offer might sound enticing, don’t do it. Medicare recommends that you do not laminate your new Medicare card and certainly don’t pay someone else to do it. Make sure you destroy your old Medicare card so that the information cannot be stolen from it.
If someone calls your house and threatens to stop your Medicare benefits if you do not give them your information, don’t fall for it. Hang up and call the Missouri SMP.
Protect your Medicare number just like a credit card. Only give the new Medicare number to doctors, pharmacists, other healthcare providers, insurers or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf.
Identity theft is a serious crime that happens when someone uses your personal information without your consent to commit fraud or other crimes. Personal information includes your name and your Social Security, Medicare, or credit card numbers. Guard your card and protect your personal information.
As always, report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri SMP at 1-888-515-6565.
This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MPPG0040, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.

Today, the Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol is sharing four tips from the National Council on Aging to protect you from scams.
First, hang up on government imposters. They may call claiming to be from the IRS, Social Security, or Medicare. The phone number on caller ID may match the toll-free number for the agencies. The caller claims your account is locked or they need information from you. They may threaten to arrest you if you don’t do what they say. Just hang up. If you don’t recognize the number, just do not answer the phone to begin with. And don’t return calls either.
Second, don’t accept offers of “free” medical equipment or tests. They may show up in the mail, on the phone, in the mall or elsewhere. While Medicare covers preventive services and durable medical equipment at no or low cost, there are rules on getting them. Start with your primary care doctor or trusted specialist – not someone selling a test or equipment. Suppliers of back braces or wheelchairs that market directly to consumers sometimes could use your personal Medicare information to bill Medicare for thousands of dollars.
Third, check your Medicare Summary Notice. Medicare sends an MSN to beneficiaries every three months. The MSN lists providers that billed Medicare on your behalf, what Medicare paid, and amounts you owe. Check your MSN regularly to identify any suspicious activity, such as a bill for equipment you didn’t receive or from a provider that you do not know.
Fourth, protect your identity. Make sure that you do not give away your date of birth, Social Security number, Medicare number or any other personal information unless you know for certain who you are dealing with and why they need it.
As always, report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri SMP at 1-888-515-6565.
This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MPPG0040, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.

July’s Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) Fraud Fact addresses durable medical equipment fraud. Durable medical equipment, or DME, refers to wheelchairs, surgical supplies, catheters, and respiratory nebulizers, as well as nutrition and tube feeding supplies.
While many reputable companies provide this equipment, many scams have cropped up. This kind of scam relies on three ingredients: a Medicare number, a physician willing to bill for services, and an unscrupulous DME dealer.
Here’s how it works. A scammer approaches a doctor or uses the stolen identity of a physician. The doctor, or his imposter, writes an order for the equipment. This same fraudulent equipment company may use stolen Medicare numbers to bill Medicare for wheelchairs or something else.
The DME company gets the money, but no one ever gets the equipment. Sometimes, a shady DME company may offer meals, food, or supplements in exchange for a person’s Medicare number. These same companies may offer diabetic shoes, oxygen, nebulizers, and therapeutic mattresses in exchange for the Medicare number. DO NOT fall for it.
In all these cases, you should question whether there is abuse or fraud. Give your Medicare card number only to trusted physicians.
DO NOT accept so-called free medical equipment or services in exchange for your Medicare number. There is NO such thing as free. When you get your Medicare Summary Notice or explanation of benefits, review it to see if Medicare is charged for items you did not receive. If you suspect fraud, call the Missouri SMP at 1-888-515-6565.
This project is supported, in part by grant number 90MPPG0040, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Liv

Kennett O.A.K.S.

March  2019 Fraud Prevention Fact

Serving Seniors Since 1973

April 2019 Fraud Prevention Fact

       Happy New Year! The Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) exists to make sure that seniors know about the latest Medicare scams. Medicare fraud costs the government (and thus consumers) an estimated $6.8 million each hour.
      The main focus of the SMP is on Medicare fraud. However, we also want to make you aware of the many other ways in which scammers are trying to steal from bank accounts and credit card accounts.
      To help protect yourself from Medicare fraud, the Missouri SMP offers these three tips:
      Don’t give out any personal information – including bank account, credit cards, Social Security card numbers or Medicare numbers – to anyone you do not know. That includes someone who phones you claiming to be with your bank, Medicare, Social Security or the IRS. The government agencies generally don’t phone you, and they already know the information. The IRS also won’t call or email you and threaten to arrest you.
      Don’t fall for the grandparent scam. That happens when a frantic person calls claiming to be a family member or friend a relative who is either ill or in jail and needing emergency money. The aim is to get you so worked up that you send money or other forms of payment before you even have time to think. Check out the stories before you act. It’s most likely a scam.
      Rely on your personal primary care physician to order any durable medical equipment (scooters, wheelchairs, etc.) or to prescribe you special diabetic shoes. Don’t rely on salespeople to tell you what you need. Ask your doctor.
      As always, report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri SMP at 1-888-515-6565.
      This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MPPG0040, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.


OCTOBER  2019 Fraud Prevention Fact

JULY 2019 Fraud Prevention Fact

AUGUST 2019 Fraud Prevention Fact

Medicare Open Enrollment begins Oct. 15. 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.
This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MPPG0040, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy. 

For this month’s fraud fact, the Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) wants to call your attention to changes in the open enrollment process for Advantage and Part D plans. As many of you know, we are in the midst of open enrollment season for Medicare Part D and Advantage plans.
This year, Medicare is offering you the opportunity to create your own login and password for your Medicare account. You must do this in order to save important information such as your prescription list into your online Medicare account.
While it’s good for you to do this, you need to guard that account user name and password just as you would any other personal identification and information – much like a credit card or Social Security number. That means you should not give just anyone the information to make an account on your behalf or sign into your Medicare account. Make sure you trust any individual to whom you give that information.
Missouri has the CLAIM program, a State Health Insurance Assistance Program. The CLAIM program provides local, in-depth, and objective insurance counseling and assistance to Medicare-eligible individuals, their families, and caregivers. CLAIM has certified counselors to help you make your Part D prescription insurance comparisons. It’s a good idea to make such comparisons each year because plans change. You can find a CLAIM counselor by calling 1-800-390-3330. Open enrollment ends Dec. 7.
As always, report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri SMP at (888) 515-6565.
This

(Older Adults Keep Serving)

   This month’s Fraud Fact from the Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) focuses on providers offering DNA or genetic testing to older adults and telling them that the service is free to Medicare beneficiaries.
    Out-of-the-blue genetic or DNA testing is NOT free and is not routinely covered for all Medicare patients. If an individual offers you or someone you know such services, DO NOT go along with it.
   Here is how the scheme works:
   A provider offers an educational session to a group of seniors at a church, senior housing complex or senior center. The provider takes the participants’ Medicare numbers and does DNA swabs. The provider then bills Medicare for the services, which have not been deemed medically necessary and do not have a referral from a primary doctor. Providing contact information or anything else during an education session is OPTIONAL, and sign-up sheets should clearly state this.
    In another scenario, the provider phones seniors and offers free DNA tests to be sent by mail. The older adults are instructed to swab their cheeks at home and return the kits. The caller gets the seniors’ Medicare numbers and emphasizes there will be NO charge to the beneficiaries.  
    DO NOT give out your Medicare number over the phone, in the mail or in a group setting in exchange for a promised free service.
    DNA testing IS legitimately used by doctors at times to help determine how effective some medications might be in treating some patients. However, you should ask your primary care doctor or your specialist, who is familiar with your medical history, about such tests.  As always, report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri SMP at 1-888-515-6565.
    This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MPPG0040, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.

January 2019 Fraud Prevention Fact

The Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) is still focused on warning you about the so-called DNA cancer screening scam. The scam, which we first talked about in last month’s Fraud Fact, seems to be catching on like wildfire in Missouri and many other states.
Someone phones you, questions you about the history of cancer in your family, and offers you a free DNA swab testing kit to evaluate your risk. All you have to do is give the caller your Medicare number. They may ask for your doctor’s name, implying that they will send your results to your doctor. You go along with it, and a few weeks later, the nicely packaged kit arrives. You give your swab and send it back. What’s wrong with that? Unfortunately, now they have your health plan or Medicare number, and they can bill Medicare thousands of dollars for medically unnecessary tests or services that you never receive. They also have personal genetic information regarding your health. Some labs may offer a cheek swab for genetic testing as part of a “free” health screening to obtain your Medicare information for identity theft or fraudulent billing purposes. These people show up at senior centers or senior housing offering the free DNA cancer test in exchange for your Medicare number. They even photograph the Medicare cards. In a word, DON’T! Genetic tests must be ordered by your doctor to be covered by Medicare. Before you agree to genetic testing, be sure to check with your own doctor.
Your primary care physician and any specialists you are seeing are in the best position to know what testing you need, why you need it, and who should perform it. As always, report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri SMP at 1-888-515-6565.
This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MPPG0040, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.

MAY 2019 Fraud Prevention Fact

August’s fraud fact from Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) deals with the unexpected knock on the door from someone trying to sell something. Older adults often are targets of door-to-door salespeople who might use unscrupulous and dishonest sales tactics to sell you something you don’t need. These folks may be trying to sell a new roof after a hail storm, resurfacing on a driveway, a very good deal on satellite TV, a new or different Medicare plan, shoes for a diabetic, a screening test for a disease or something else. They often apply high pressure and maximum charm. When it comes to repairs and improvements, get advice from relatives or friends, especially before you sign anything. Also shop, get quotes, and use licensed and insured contractors. Do not be afraid to ask for credentials. Never pay in advance. Don’t give salespeople access to your bank account. Do not feel pressured, and take your time in making a decision. When it comes to medical services, devices or insurance policies, door-to-door offers are not the recommended method of obtaining such services. Salespeople offering Medicare prescription drug coverage or Medicare Advantage plans are not allowed to do cold calls door-to-door. Do not give a door-to-door salesperson your Medicare information. They are not allowed to do Medicare business door-to-door, so they don’t need it. The Missouri SMP always recommends starting with a trusted primary care physician for Medicare-covered tests and screenings. Protect Medicare information just as you would your Social Security number or bank account information. Don’t give it to someone who wants to give you a “free” test or medical device. As always, report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri SMP at 1-888-515-6565.
This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MPPG0040, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.Type your paragraph here.

SEPTEMBER 2019 Fraud Prevention Fact

NOVEMBER  2019 Fraud Prevention Fact

JUNE 2019 Fraud Prevention Fact

The Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) is alerting Medicare beneficiaries that they all should have received their new Medicare cards in the mail by now.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced in mid-January it had finished mailing new Medicare cards.
The new cards have a unique identification number instead of the beneficiary’s Social Security number. The move was made to protect people from identity theft. People in Missouri were among the last states to receive the cards in the mail.
If you have not received your new card, here are some steps you can take:
--Look around your house for old or unopened mail. New Medicare cards were mailed in a plain white envelope from the Department of Health and Human Services.
--Sign into MyMedicare.gov to get your new number or print an official card. You will need to create an account, if you don’t already have one.
--Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to verify your identity, check your address and help get your new card.
--Ask your health care provider, who may be able to securely look up your new number.
If you have not received your card, you may continue to use your current card to get health care services until you get your new card.
As always, report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri SMP at 1-888-515-6565.
This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MPPG0040, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.Type your paragraph here.

    It is income tax time, and that gives the Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) one more reason to remind you about scammers. The scam artists might be coming at you with emails, phone calls and snail mail this tax season. Be ready.
    The Internal Revenue Service recently warned of a surge of fraudulent emails impersonating the IRS and trying entice users to open documents containing malware. The malware masqueraded as the IRS, pretending to be from "IRS Online." The IRS does NOT send unsolicited emails to the public, and the IRS will NOT email sensitive documents. Do NOT open such an email. DELETE it.
    If you are going to file a tax return, do so as soon as possible to keep an imposter from doing it using your information.
    The IRS also will not initiate contact with you by phone, text messages, Facebook or Twitter to request personal or financial information.
    Scammers claim to be IRS employees and may change their caller ID’s so that it looks like the IRS is calling. They tell you that you owe money that needs to be paid either by a gift card or wire transfer. DO NOT do it. They may threaten to have you arrested. They may tell you they are going to suspend your driver’s license. They can be intimidating. These threats are NOT for real.
    They may tell you that you have a refund coming, but ONLY if you provide your banking information for a direct transfer. DO NOT fall for it. The IRS does NOT demand immediate payment using a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. If you were to owe taxes, you would receive a bill in the mail. NO ONE is coming to arrest you.
    As always, report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri SMP at 1-888-515-6565.
    This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MPPG0040, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.