Each year, cases of Medicare fraud continues to increase. The worse thing about it is that it does not only cheat the system, but it cheats you out of lower cost for insurance. In some cases, fraud can be easily spotted like when someone steals your name and insurance information to acquire drug prescriptions. However, there are instances when spotting a fraud can be difficult. For example, a chiropractor would prescribe a back brace to his patient that is not even necessary.
These are just some examples of Medicare fraud. A lot more are out there which can happen to anyone, anytime. This is why as a precautionary measure you should know how to spot a Medicare fraud to be able to spare yourself from being a victim. Below are the dos and don’ts that you should bear in mind.
- Be sure that you understand how a plan works before joining.
- Do protect your Medicare number (can be found on your Medicare card) and your Social Security Number (can be found on your Social Security card). Your Medicare card should be treated like it’s a credit card.
- Always ask questions. You have a right to know everything about your medical care which includes the costs billed to Medicare.
- Bear in mind that nothing is ever “free.” Do not accept any offer of money or gift for free medical care.
- Educate yourself about Medicare. Know your rights and know what a provider can and ca not bill to Medicare.
- Use a calendar to record all of your doctor’s appointments and what tests or X-rays you get. Then check your Medicare statements carefully in order to make sure that you got each service listed and that all the details are correct.
- If you spend time in a hospital, make sure the admission date, discharge date, and diagnosis on your bill are correct.
- Be wary of providers who tell you that the item or service is not usually covered, but they “know how to bill Medicare” so Medicare will pay.
- Always check your pills before leaving the pharmacy to be sure you got the correct medication, including whether it is a brand or generic as well as the full amount. If you don’t get your full prescription, immediately report the problem to the pharmacist.
- Report any suspected instances of fraud.
- Do not contact your physician to request a service that you do not need.
- Do not be influenced by any form of media advertising about your health. Many television and radio ads do not really have your best interest at heart.
- Never give your Medicare number, Medicare card, Social Security card, or Social Security Number to anyone except to your doctor or authorized Medicare provider.
- Do not allow anyone, except your doctor or other Medicare providers to review your medical records or recommend services.
- Do not let anyone convince you to see a doctor for care or services that are not needed.
- Do not accept medical supplies from a door-to-door salesman. If someone knocks on your door claiming to be from Medicare or Medicaid, bear in mind that Medicare and Medicaid do not send representatives to homes to sell products or services.
By knowing these dos and don’ts, you will not only be protecting yourself or your loved ones but you are also making sure that the money you’ve invested on your Medicare will not go to waste.