Today, in Indiana, dozens of elderly Hoosiers are receiving harassing phone calls from scam artists seeking to make a fraudulent dollar off of Medicare.
The predators offer seniors “free” durable medical equipment (DME) -- such as back braces, knee braces, TENS units and more -- that they neither want nor need, and taxpayers end up footing the bill. The call often starts by the fraudster telling you that “you qualify” for this product. If you have back pain, knee pain or other concerns, talk to your doctor about treatment----don’t fall victim to this scam!
Experts say the price tag is staggering: up to $90 billion per year in fraud, abuse and/or improper payments. This affects the integrity of the Medicare program.
To help inform seniors about these schemes, the Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging (IAAAA) operates the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP).
SMP is seeking to eradicate this Medicare fraud and abuse by using senior volunteers to educate their peers and report unscrupulous behavior.
While we are making an impact and hear regularly from seniors who report bad actors thanks to our educational efforts, we are asking for your help.
• Visit only your personal doctor, hospital or clinic for medical help. Trust only them to make referrals for special equipment, services or medicine.
• If someone calls and tries to threaten or pressure you into something – hang up!
• If someone comes to your door and says they are from Medicare and they need your Medicare number - shut the door!
• If someone offers to buy your Medicare number, don’t do it.
• Never provide a salesperson with your doctor’s name or number.
• Never show anyone your medical or prescription records without first talking to your doctor or pharmacist.
• Don’t leave mail in your mailbox for more than one day. People can steal personal information right out of your mailbox.
• Rip up or shred your Medicare papers and other important documents before throwing them away. People go through trash.
• Remember, Medicare doesn’t sell anything.
• Always read your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) or your Explanation of Benefits (EOB) if on a Medicare Advantage plan. This is the piece of mail stamped “This is Not a Bill” that comes in after you get medical care.
The Indiana SMP would be happy to provide presentations to interested groups. Call or email Nancy Moore, 317-205-9201 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a presentation. If interested in volunteering, call or email Mary Wallace 317-205-9201 or email@example.com.
If you suspect Medicare fraud, call your local Area Agency on Aging via our toll free number, 1-800-986-3505.
Generations, Area 13 Agency on Aging & Disability, is a program of Vincennes University’s Community Services Division. Our agency connects individuals and caregivers to community resources and options for long-term care and in-home services. For more information, call 1-800-742-9002 or 812-888-5880 or visit our website at www.generationsnetwork.org.