June 28, 2017
Many Medicare recipients have received correspondence stating that they will get a new card. However, this change is not taking place until April in 2018. Scammers are already finding ways to profit from the confusion, which means that Medicare members must be on the alert for new types of fraud.
Card changes are meant to protect identities and prevent fraud. For most people, their Medicare card number is the same as their Social Security number. This gives scammers an easy way to collect personal information, which they can use to take loans out in a person’s name, open new credit cards or open other types of financial accounts. Since there have been so many types of fraud linked to collecting Social Security numbers, Medicare decided to issue new cards that will not include those sensitive numbers.
How The New Scam Works
The latest scam that is based on new Medicare numbers being issued usually starts with a phone call. A scammer states that he or she is calling on behalf of Medicare and asks for the beneficiary to confirm his or her current membership number before the new card can be sent out. Another type of phone scam involves someone calling a beneficiary and claiming that there is a charge for the new card. Medicare has issued statements to address this problem saying that they will not contact any beneficiary directly about the new card and will never request personal information. They already keep this information on file and do not need it. When receiving such a call, hang up immediately. Call Medicare or a state health agency to report it.
Other Common Medicare Scams
It is still important to be aware of other common Medicare fraud schemes. These have been in existence for a while but are still being used. The common types of scams include:
- Billing for unnecessary services
- Billing for services not received
- Billing twice for one procedure
- Offering kickbacks
- Fake pricing and reporting
- Insufficient medical documentation
- Off-label pharmaceutical marketing
- Wrongly claiming reimbursement eligibility
- Unqualified providers offering services
- Physician self-referral
Beneficiaries cannot allow another person to use their card, and they are also prohibited from sharing prescriptions. If a doctor will not offer narcotic medications, going from one doctor to another seeking those medications is also a prohibited practice.