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.

MAY 2020  Fraud Prevention Fact

Serving Seniors Since 1973

JANUARY 2020  Fraud Prevention Fact

June 2020 Fraud Prevention Fact

The Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) is warning older adults about the potential for fraud during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is no FDA-approved vaccine or cure for COVID-19. Scammers often use fear-based tactics to convince people that a vaccine or cure is now being offered.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health officials may contact you if they believe you may have been exposed to the virus. They will not need to ask you for insurance or financial information.
The Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) recommends that Medicare beneficiaries:
• Contact your own doctor if you are experiencing potential symptoms of COVID-19.
• Do not give out your Medicare number, Social Security number, or personal information in response to unsolicited calls, texts, emails, home visits, or booths at health fairs and other venues.
• Be suspicious of anyone going door-to-door to offer free coronavirus or COVID-19 testing, supplies, or treatments.
• Carefully review your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) or Explanation of Benefits (EOB), looking for errors or claims for products or services that weren’t received.
• Follow the instructions of your state or local government for other actions you should be taking in response to COVID-19.
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.

OCTOBER  Fraud Prevention Fact

JULY 2019 Fraud Prevention Fact

MARCH  2020  Fraud Prevention Fact

FEBRUARY 2020  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. 

August 2020 Fraud Prevention Fact

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.
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The Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) once again is reminding older adults and their caregivers to be wary of potential Medicare fraud and abuse schemes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the pandemic began spreading across the United States, scammers have been working nonstop to try to trick older adults and to take their money.
Scammers have been targeting seniors to sell them COVID-19 testing kits, sell them so-called miracle cures, and to issue false alerts that their Social Security benefits have been suspended. All of these are scams.
If you think you need a COVID-19 test, you should contact your trusted family physician. There are no over-the-counter COVID tests available yet. There are no cures or approved vaccines for the virus yet. If you have questions about claims such as these, call your primary care physician or local health department.
Also, the pandemic is causing NO interruption in Social Security payments.
These are a sampling of the scams running rampant since the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bottom line remains the same: Social Security, Medicare and the IRS will NOT call you asking for your personal numbers, your credit card or your bank account information. This has not and will not change. The best place to get medical advice is your primary or trusted specialty physician.
As always, report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri SMP at 1-888-515-6565.

(Older Adults Keep Serving)

The Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) wants to give you a heads-up this month about the 2020 U.S. Census.
Every household should receive in the mail an invitation to participate in the Census beginning in mid-March. The preferred method of replying will be online. Everyone should be counted in the Census because doing so helps state and local governments receive their share of federal funding and representation in Congress.
However, the Census also provides an opportunity for imposters to try to get your personal information, such as your Medicare number, which they will use to commit fraud.
The Census contains basic questions about members of your household, including dates of birth. However, you will NOT be asked for Medicare numbers, bank account information, or credit card numbers, money, or anything on behalf of a political party. The Census Bureau will not be calling your home or knocking on your door initially either.
If you receive a survey from someone who says they are with the Census, yet you are unsure about whether it’s legitimate, you may contact the Census Bureau to confirm it.
You may go to census.gov and click on the “Help for Survey Participants” section to find resources to confirm the survey you receive is from the Census Bureau.
If you receive something in the mail, the return address should be either U.S. Department of Commerce or the U.S. Census Bureau with a return address in Jeffersonville, Indiana. For more information, visit www.2020census.gov.
As always, report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri SMP at 1-888-515-6565.

Beware of the cold sales call – on the phone or on your doorstep. The Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) wants to remind you that Medicare will not call you out of the blue asking for your Social Security, Medicare or banking information.
Medicare has strict rules regulating companies who sell Medicare Advantage plans – also known as Medicare replacement plans – and those rules do not allow for cold sales calls. If you already are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, then that plan may call you, however.
The key is to know what you have now – original Medicare with a Part D plan and perhaps a supplemental plan OR an Advantage plan that replaces original Medicare.
Open enrollment for Medicare begins Oct. 15th. That’s when you will be able to evaluate the coverage you have now and whether you want to change it. Special circumstances allow for a special enrollment at other times.
Medicare coverage can be confusing, which is why the Missouri SMP assists beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers to prevent, detect, and report health care fraud, errors, and abuse.
The Missouri State Health Insurance Program (SHIP), known as CLAIM, is here to answer Medicare insurance questions and help you with enrollment as well. These resources can be trusted.
If you receive an unexpected phone call about your Medicare coverage, do NOT give any information to the caller. If you have questions, call 1-800-MEDICARE ((1-800-633-4227) or the Missouri CLAIM at 1-800-390-3330. To learn more or report suspected Medicare fraud, call 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.

For the March Fraud Fact, the Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) is renewing its call to beware of potential fraud as the U.S. Census gets under way this month. Most households will receive a post card in the mail inviting them to participate in the U.S. Census.
The preferred method of replying to the Census will be online, and the instructions will be on the post card. People who do not want to reply online have the option to reply by phone.
Unfortunately, imposters may contact you as well. One way they may do that is through a phishing email. Phishing is a crime in which someone tries to get your information by pretending to be someone else. These emails often direct you to a fake website, and that website may be infected by malware. The Census Bureau will not send unsolicited emails to request your participation Also, the Census Bureau will never ask for your Social Security number, bank account number, Medicare information, credit card numbers, money or donations. The Census Bureau also does not represent any political party.
The Census Bureau eventually will visit households if they receive no response to the mailed invitation to reply online or on the phone. That should not happen until mid-May. If someone visits your home to collect a response for the 2020 Census, you can make sure they have a valid ID badge, with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. If you still question their identity or suspect fraud, call 800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative.
As always, report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri SMP at 1-888-515-6565.

Happy New Year! The Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) wants to remind you that the alpha-numeric number on the new Medicare card is required for providers to process claims beginning January 1. If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you should present that card to the provider.
If you have not already done so, please destroy your old Medicare card, the one that contains your Social Security number. The federal government replaced the old cards to protect you from identity theft by removing the Social Security number.
Of course, scam artists are likely to use the switchover to try to get you to give your old or new number to them so that they can commit Medicare fraud.
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. Federal government agencies generally don’t phone you, and they already know the information. The IRS also won’t call or email you, especially with threats to arrest you.
If you have lost your new Medicare card, you may print a new one online by making an account at myMedicare.gov. Your area agency on aging has someone who can walk you through this process if you need help. Again, do not let any strangers have access to this account.
As always, report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri SMP at 1-888-515-6565.

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.

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.

NOVEMBER 2019  Fraud Prevention Fact

July 2020 Fraud Prevention Fact

December 7th marks the last day of the open enrollment period for Part D drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans. However, your job in guarding your Medicare card number and information continues. One of the best ways that you can do that is to keep track of your interactions with your health care providers. The Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) provides a free Personal Healthcare Journal to help you keep track of your doctors’ visits. The journal has space for you to record physicians’ information; appointments and questions for the doctor; and allergies, family history, medications and other healthcare information. There are places to record the services you received and answers to questions at each visit. When you receive your explanation of benefits or Medicare Summary Notice, you can use the Personal Healthcare Journal to compare the date and services received at visits to those listed on your MSN or EOB. Read your medical billing statements regularly and completely. Check the name of the provider, the date of service, and the service provided. Do the claims paid match the care you received? Do they match the information you put in your Personal Healthcare Journal? If you see a mistake, call your provider. If your concerns still are not resolved, call the Missouri SMP for assistance.
To receive a complimentary Personal Healthcare Journal or to report suspected Medicare fraud, call the Missouri SMP at (888) 515-6565.

The Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) wants to remind you that we are here for you when you have questions concerning possible Medicare errors, abuse and fraud.
The Missouri SMP is one of 54 non-profit projects with a mission to empower and assist Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers to prevent, detect, and report health care fraud, errors, and abuse. We are a grant-funded project of the federal U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), U.S. Administration for Community Living (ACL). Our work is in three main areas:
Providing Outreach and education. During this pandemic, most outreach is done by producing fraud facts such as this one and posting online and on Facebook. Check us out at www.missourismp.org or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MissouriSMP/
Engaging civic-minded volunteers to help protect older adults’ health, finances, and medical identity while saving precious Medicare dollars. If you are interested, we have an online volunteer training.
Receiving beneficiary complaints. When Medicare beneficiaries, caregivers, and family members bring their complaints to us, we determine whether fraud, errors, or abuse is suspected. When fraud or abuse is suspected, we make referrals to the appropriate state and federal agencies for further investigation.
So, what does that mean for you? It means we are a trusted source of information and assistance.
To learn more or report suspected Medicare fraud, call 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 policyType your paragraph here.

The Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) reminds you to watch out for scams related to the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Scammers are targeting older adults. Fraudsters are attempting to bill Medicare for sham tests or treatments related to the coronavirus. They also are targeting individuals to illegally obtain money or Medicare numbers. Here’s how to protect yourself: Do not give out your Medicare number to anyone other than your doctor, health care provider, or other trusted representative. Protect your Medicare number and treat your Medicare card like a credit card. Never provide your Medicare number to anyone who contacts you through unsolicited calls, texts, or emails. Be cautious of anyone who comes to your door offering free coronavirus testing, treatment, or supplies. Don’t click on online links from sources you don’t know, which could put your computer or device at risk. Make sure the anti-malware and anti-virus software on your computer are up to date. Be cautious when purchasing medical supplies from unverified sources, including online advertisements and email/phone solicitations. Ignore online offers for vaccinations. If you see ads touting prevention products or cures for COVID-19, they are most likely a scam. Do your homework before donating to a charity or crowdfunding site due to a public health emergency. Be particularly wary of any charities requesting donations by cash, by gift card, or wire transfer. Be alert to “investment opportunities.” The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning people about online promotions, including on social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure COVID-19 and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result. 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.

APRIL 2020  Fraud Prevention Fact

SEPTEMBER 2019 Fraud Prevention Fact

DECEMBER 2019 Fraud Prevention Fact