Whether it is your first time applying for Medicare or you are performing your annual coverage review and shopping plans, there are steps that you can take to reduce your risk of being a victim of Medicare fraud. Sadly, each year thousands are impacted by fraudulent use of their personal information to cover procedures and expenses they did not incur, and this can result in a nightmare for everyone involved.
Medicare fraud is defined as individuals or companies receiving payments from Medicare under false pretenses. This kind of activity is highly illegal. Doctors, individuals, and providers can participate in Medicare fraud and the more this occurs, the more costs are driven upward. Additionally, fraud victims can be financially responsible for incurred charges and have a blemished insurance record. This means you may not be able to receive proper coverage when you require it.
Today, your friendly and knowledgeable Maggi Tax team would like to take a few minutes of your time to share some simple tips that will allow you and your loved ones to be proactive in preventing Medicare fraud so that you can maintain proper coverage and have peace of mind. Let’s get started.
1. GUARD THE CARD NUMBER
Only provide your Medicare insurance card information and numbers to trusted parties such as physicians, providers, and pharmacies. Do not leave your card out where it could be taken or a photograph obtained. Treat it much like a credit or debit card.
2. UNDERSTAND YOUR COVERAGE REGULATIONS
Anytime that your provider recommends a test or service, double-check to ensure that it is covered under your plan’s provisions. Doctors do their best to recommend covered services, but it is impossible for them to know the ins and outs of every patient’s coverage.
3. BE INFORMED OF WHAT SERVICES YOU ACCEPT
If you feel that your provider is recommending unnecessary tests or procedures, take the time to get a second opinion. It could save you a lot of time and money, as well as avoid your policy being flagged for excessive use.
4. PROTECT YOUR PRIVATE HEALTH INFORMATION (PHI)
Always know who has access to and is looking at your health records. They should never be shared with anyone without your consent. Being aware of who has your information can prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.
5. BE CAUTIOUS
Take the time to double-check every explanation of benefits (EOB) statement and confirm coverage. Sadly, there are doctors who will fraudulently recommend services or treatments that aren’t covered, such as massage. Also, checking your statements will quickly alert you if you have been scammed, as you will see charges that you did not incur.
Protecting yourself and your family from Medicare fraud takes diligence, but is relatively easy. Your Maggi Tax team is always looking out for you when it comes to understanding Medicare and how it impacts your financial situation. For more information on this subject and other valuable topics, stay tuned to our blog.