Warning to seniors about healthcare scams

Don’t let yourself or a senior you care about get scammed.  A number of recent scams in the area have targeted the elderly, including a drive-by virus reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that was investigated by the Marquette Police Department.

• “Twenty-Two Detroit-Area Residents Charged in Nationwide
Medicare Fraud Strike Force Takedown”
• “Health care fraud scam took in more than $58 million in false
Medicare billings”
• “Detroit-Area Physician Convicted in $6.7 Million Medicare
Fraud Scheme”

With these recent Michigan headlines in the news, it’s more important than
ever for seniors and their friends, family and caregivers to be vigilant of
Medicare fraud.

In the latest scam, health care criminals are on the prowl, urging people to get care they don’t need. Home care operators are switching people out of their home care service.
Medicare numbers are stolen and used to bill for services not delivered.

That’s why the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) is warning seniors and their
families to stay clear of Medicare fraud.

“Senior Medicare Patrol is a hard-working group of volunteers who are reaching
out to seniors across the state to help end Medicare fraud,” said Jo Murphy,
executive director of the Michigan Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program
(MMAP), the agency that coordinates SMP.

She went on to share some tips for ways that seniors can help prevent
Medicare fraud:
• Never give your financial information or Social Security
number to strangers
• Never give your Medicare number to someone you do not know
• Immediately end any phone call with anyone who asks for
personal information
• Don’t fall for offers of free health care
• Check with your doctor if persons unknown to you want you
to enroll in their physical therapy or home care

Seniors are encouraged to call the Senior Medicare Patrol at 1.800.803-7174
if they suspect charges, are approached for offers of free health care or have
questions about their statements.

“If you have questions or suspicions about anything related to your health care,
we’re only a phone call away,” said Murphy.

The Senior Medicare Patrol recruits and teaches senior volunteers and
professionals to help Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries become better health
care consumers. SMP works with the Michigan Area Agencies on Aging to help
beneficiaries and their families prevent, detect and report health care fraud.