Don’t be a Victim
Since 1997, the US Administration on Aging has funded Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) programs in all fifty states and US territories. The programs recruit and train retired professionals to teach Medicare beneficiaries how to recognize and report possible healthcare fraud in the Medicare and Medicaid systems. SMP programs also work to resolve beneficiary complaints of potential fraud, waste and abuse. Working alongside state and national fraud control and consumer protection entities, including Medicare contractors, state Medicaid fraud control units, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the US Office of Inspector General, SMP programs have been instrumental in returning millions of dollars to the Medicare system.
The SMP message is simple. Protect, detect and report. Protect your Medicare benefits and the Medicare systems from dishonest healthcare providers by protecting your Medicare number. Do not give it out to people you don’t know. Don’t give it to anyone on the phone. Say “no” to offers of free medical equipment. Remember that your Medicare card number can be more valuable than any credit card, if the person who gets your number uses it to bill Medicare for services and products you have not received.
Finally, report any suspicious activity. You could be uncovering a major scam, such as the ones mentioned above. Please contact us using the information listed below for more details or if you suspect Medicare fraud, waste, or abuse.
5 Tips for Dealing with Depression During the Holidays
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced isolation on so many of us and during the holidays, this can contribute mightily to depression for all of us dealing with this situation. Here are five tips to help elevate everyone’s mood during this difficult time.
Gratitude – think about all the people you interact with and the positive things they’ve brought to your life, even the tiniest gesture of kindness and reach out to say thank you. It will make you feel better, and them as well for being appreciated.
Communicate – with today’s technology, you are able to communicate with a number of platforms. Utilize one of them to say hello and smile at your loved one. You might not be able to be together, but at least you can stay in touch.
Amusement – try to find some amusement in a situation that seems insurmountable, to show you that all is not lost.
Marvel – take a moment to observe some astonishing element of nature, such as a sunset, or cloud formation, or even an ice covered tree, and just focus for a moment on the beauty that surrounds you.
Breathe – finally, just stop and breathe in deeply, hold it for a second, and then breathe out slowly, taking a long time to exhale. Do this several times and it actually slows down your heart rate, calming you, and reducing any stress you might feel.
for Medicare Recipients with Diabetes
Criminals who plot to defraud Medicare have a new target: people with diabetes. Although the precise method may vary, the scheme generally involves a caller pretending to be from the Government, a diabetes association, or even Medicare. The caller offers "free" diabetic supplies, such as glucose meters, diabetic test strips, or lancets.
The call is a scam.
If you receive such a call, Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) recommends the following actions:
1. Protect Your Medicare and Other Personal Information
Do not provide your Medicare number or other personal information. Be suspicious of anyone who offers free items or services and then asks for your Medicare or financial information. These calls are not coming from Medicare, diabetes associations, or other similar organizations. While the caller says the items are "free," the items are still billed to Medicare.
2. Check Your Medicare Summary Notice
Check your Medicare Summary Notice and other medical information to see if Medicare was charged for items you did not order or did not receive. Also, check for supplies items that may have been incorrectly billed multiple times. Report any irregular activity to your health care provider and the SMP Hotline at 1-877-272-8720.
3. Do Not Accept Items That You Did Not Order
You are under no obligation to accept items that you did not order. Instead, you should refuse the delivery and/or return to the sender. Keep a record of the sender's name and the date you returned the item(s) to help SMP catch any future illegal billing.
Georgia Senior Medicare Patrol is a non-profit organization funded in part through a grant from the US Administration for Community Living. Please contact Georgia Senior Medicare Patrol at
1-877-272-8720 or visit www.stopmedicarefraud.org for more information on how you can stop Medicare fraud.
Is there a way to test
for memory loss?
Yes, there are many tests on line, but it’s important to do your homework first, because not all memory tests are created equal. To save you some time, here’s a link for Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) from the University of Massachusetts.
This test is used by clinicians to diagnose memory loss. If you find your results suspicious, you might want to talk to your doctor.
Georgia Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) recently became aware of a scheme involving genetic testing laboratories conducting fraudulent and unnecessary tests on Medicare beneficiaries. These schemes are being conducted at senior centers, meal sites, community centers, and senior housing facilities.
The laboratory representative offers to host an ice cream social or other event for the center and will also provide free genetic or DNA testing to the Medicare beneficiaries at the event.
Laboratory representatives collect the beneficiary’s Medicare number, take cheek swabs of Medicare beneficiary and then submit claims to Medicare for payment. In some cases, they offer to send the testing kits directly to the beneficiary’s home address.
Things to remember about genetic testing:
• Medicare will only pay for medically necessary genetic testing
• Genetic testing is very expensive and only needed under very specific circumstances
• Medicare requires an order from a physician or qualified health care practitioner
• Medicare requires a signed beneficiary consent form prior to paying for genetic testing
To learn more or if you have been a victim of this scam, please call Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-877-272-8720
or visit www.stopmedicarefraud.org
This alert has been brought to you by Georgia Senior Medicare Patrol— A non-profit organization funded in part through a grant from the
US Administration for Community Living.
Medicare and Ambulance Transportation
Senior Medicare Patrol would like to share important information with you regarding your health care. Here are some things you should know if you were to need ambulance transportation.
How the Scam Works
Ambulance Transportation is only covered when other transportation would be dangerous to your health.
You have the right to choose the ambulance service.
Non-emergency transport can be very costly to you.
By signing the Advanced Beneficiary Notice anything not covered by Medicare will be billed to YOU.
Check your Medicare Summary Notice. This statement from Medicare lists everything that Medicare paid for you. Look at the Part B section. Make sure Medicare only paid for services you actually received. Call us if you need help reading your statement. We can help you make sure there are no mistakes.
Senior Medicare Patrol
887-272-8720 or www.stopmedicarefraud.org. Our services are free.
This project was supported, in part by a grant (Nos. 90MP194-01-01, 90MP0196-01-00 and 90MP195-01-04), 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.