With Dr. Jacques Roy found guilty of what the FBI dubs as the biggest Medicare scam in history (the damage was estimated at $375 millions) at the beginning of November, the authorities have begun to take an interest in informing the elderly and their relatives on the means they can employ to protect themselves from unscrupulous individuals. Irrespective of the money such malevolent people rip off of gullible seniors, the result is still the same: everyone will have to pitch in to cover the losses, meaning higher health insurance premiums.
Following is a set of tips to remember next time you'll get a phone call from the "National Medical Office" or the "Medicare National Office" with one-in-a-lifetime health insurance offers or discounts:
Because Medicare insurance implies monthly payments, you should be wary of individuals who claim you got can get a renewal on your current policy by paying an one-time fee.
In the eventuality that the person at the end of the line starts asking you for personal data, such as your Social Security number or bank account information, hang up immediately.
Even though it's rather boring, take the time to review the Medicare summary notice in order to determine if you have been charged for services you haven't received or have to pay double for a medical service you were actually granted.
In case you didn't know, the government officials will not wander door to door providing this incredible, one day offers with health plans or Medicare insurance. If an official were to come to your home, you will be formally informed as according to the federal law (showing up
unexpectedly is illegal).
Even if you are desperate to get the money for a medical procedure, be careful about the "supplemental" programs that are below the value of the Medicare services as you might have to pay that hefty bill out of your own pocket.
If you happen to need special medical equipment then check your health insurance policy and discuss the options with your physician. Anyone else trying to sell you medical equipment via phone, e-mail or showing up at your place is usually a fraud.
In general, it is wise to be up to date with the health care changes in the US and, if you have questions, contact your insurance company immediately. In addition, make it very clear to them that they are not to apply any modifications – regardless of how small – to your health plan without consulting you first.
While freebies are an essential tool in the market environment, the same does not apply for health plans. Therefore, if someone were to offer you a free medical device/service or gift card, pay attention to what they are asking in return as you could be tricked into disclosing your Social Security or Medicare number.
Make an agreement with your elder relatives that they should call you first when they receive a medical offer.
If you have reasons to suspect that you might be dealing with a fraud then you can report it at 1-800-447-8477.
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