Medicare fraud is costing taxpayers billions of dollars, and it could directly affect your aging relative’s finances, too. Seniors and their family caregivers have the power to help fight Medicare fraud. Knowing what to look for and steps caregivers can take are key to stopping fraudsters from taking advantage of this important resource for seniors.
Kinds of Medicare Fraud.
There are several kinds of Medicare fraud. Some of them have direct impact on seniors and others attempt to abuse the system for financial gain. Some types of Medicare fraud are:
- Medical Identity Theft: This kind of fraud occurs when a scammer steals the senior’s personal information and uses it to file false Medicare claims. This kind of scam can affect the older adult’s health since it can result in incorrect information appearing in their medical files.
- Phantom Billing: Phantom billing is when a healthcare facility sends Medicare a bill for services they did not perform or billing a service twice in hopes of receiving double payment.
- Upcharging: This happens when healthcare providers perform one service then bill Medicare for something more expensive.
- “Free” Offers: Some scammers offer seniors items and devices they don’t need, saying they are free. The freebies can be anything from an electric scooter to a back brace. The senior either never gets the product or gets something of lesser value. Medicare, however, gets the full bill.
- Prescription Fraud: Scammers use the older adult’s Medicare number to fill prescriptions. Then they take the drugs and sell them illegally. This can lead to the senior’s real prescriptions being denied.
Stopping Medicare Fraud.
Caregivers can help their aging family members to avoid and report Medicare fraud. To combat Medicare fraud, follow these steps:
- Caregivers should write down the dates the senior received medical treatment as well as the services received. When the bill comes, compare the information on the bill to the caregiver’s notes. Also, check the Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from Medicare, too.
- If charges seem incorrect, caregivers should contact the doctor’s office and ask them to help you understand.
- If the charges still seem off and the caregiver suspects fraud, they should report their suspicions by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227).
If you are a long-distance caregiver, it may be helpful to hire home care to assist your aging relative with Medicare claims. A home care provider can help the senior to organize their bills and claim information, record dates and details of appointments, and examine documents for errors and potential fraud.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregiver services in Quincy, FL, please call the caring staff at Hopewell In-Home Senior Care today at 850-386-5552. Providing Senior Care Services in North Florida