Medicare is a national health insurance program in the U.S. designated for Americans 65 years and older, those with disability status, and those with end-stage renal disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Medicare was established in 1966 to aid those who could not work but still needed health care. As of 2018, over 59.9 million individuals were provided coverage through Medicare. Medicare is funded through payroll taxes, beneficiary premiums and surtaxes from beneficiaries, co-pays, deductibles, and general U.S. Treasure revenue, allowing those who benefit from Medicare to save up to 50% of healthcare costs.
Medicare is a highly beneficial program that has and is continuing to aid countless Americans. The Federal Government estimates that 589 billion dollars were spent on Medicare in 2018. Although Medicare successfully assists so many, with so much money floating around, there is plenty of room for manipulation and profit. The Federal government estimates 60-90 billion is paid out of Medicare annually due to improper billing, errors, and abuse, otherwise known as Medicare fraud.
Medicare Fraud occurs when someone uses your Medicare number without your knowledge or charges for services not provided. Medicare fraud leads to higher health care costs and higher taxes. It is essential to arm yourself and your loved ones with knowledge about how con artists attempt to gain personal information. Here are five tips on how to prevent Medicare fraud.
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1. Do Not Accept Offers For Free Medical Care
Nothing in life is free, unfortunately. Solicitors contacting you about free health care services contingent on providing your Medicare number should not be trusted.
2. Beware People Who Try To Bill Items Or Services That Aren’t Usually Covered
There are people out there who approach Medicare recipients, claiming that they know how to bill Medicare. Often these individuals are only saying this to gain access to sensitive information, and the services claimed to be covered still will not be covered.
3. Don’t Allow Anyone To Review Your Records
Only you or a trusted loved one should be able to review your records.
4. Guard your Social Security and Medicare Numbers
Until 2017, everyone’s Medicare card had their SSN; this has been removed for safety purposes. Also, if anyone calls and asks for your SSN, Medicare, or credit card information, hang up the phone.
5. Check your Medicare Claims for Errors
People make mistakes. Routinely checking your Medicare claims helps your and the health care provider avoid unintentional errors. Check your Medicare summary notice (MSN) as soon as your claim has been processed. Look for services not received or double billing.
If you suspect Medicare fraud make sure to call 1-800-Medicare.