Medicare Fraud Rampant in U.S.

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Medicare fraud and abuse costs the U.S. $60-90 billion a year in taxpayer dollars. Those behind the scams illegally collect money from the Medicare program by tricking seniors into providing personal information and submitting false claims. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) define fraud as “the intentional deception or misrepresentation that the individual knows to be false… knowing that the deception could result in some unauthorized benefit to himself or herself or some other person.” According to the Senior Medicare Patrol website, “Medicare fraud assumes criminal intent.” Medicare fraud is rampant, and often easy for seniors to fall for. A common scam involves durable medical equipment – a medical equipment company calls a senior, offers free equipment, asks for his/her Medicare number, and submits paperwork to the doctor’s office. Once the doctor signs the paperwork and the claim is submitted, Medicare reimburses the company. Approximately 20% of the investigations conducted by Senior Medicare Patrol in California are related to durable medical equipment scams. Types of Medicare fraud Billing for services that were not provided is a type of Medicare fraud that beneficiaries can avoid by reviewing the Medicare Summary Notice sent to their home every 90 days. Providing unsolicited supplies to beneficiaries is another type of Medicare fraud, commonly initiated by a phone call from someone claiming to offer free equipment and asking for personal information. Any equipment offered that doesn’t first require the beneficiary to receive a medical examination is almost certainly a scam, and should be reported. Beneficiaries are advised to guard their Medicare number as they would their social security number, and not to give it away over the phone. Many other types of Medicare fraud exist, but knowing what to look for can help stop scams and reduce the number of taxpayer dollars lost. Read more at Nelson Hardiman.