Scammers try last-minute Medicare fraud

By Greg Collier

If you are a Medicare recipient and have recently received COVID tests you didn’t order, you might be the victim of Medicare fraud. With the Public Health Emergency around COVID being declared over this month, scammers have been sending COVID tests to Medicare recipients, while billing Medicare at close to $100 a pop. Victims have said they received multiple COVID tests from providers that were outside of their state.

Now, some Medicare recipients may not think that this is a big deal. They might think they got free COVID tests while Medicare paid for it. So, what’s the big deal? Outside of their Medicare information being compromised, any kind of fraudulent charge billed to Medicare can have negative effects on a policyholder’s benefits.

If a fraudulent charge goes undetected, the patient may be responsible for paying out-of-pocket for services or supplies they did not receive or need. Medicare has coverage limits for various services and supplies. Fraudulent charges can lead to unnecessary utilization of these benefits, causing patients to exhaust their coverage limits prematurely. If fraudulent claims are submitted using the patient’s Medicare information, it can lead to confusion in medical records and billing systems. This may result in delays, denials, or even the denial of legitimate claims, causing a disruption in the patient’s ongoing care and treatment plans. Lastly, fraudulent claims sent to Medicare increase healthcare costs in general.

If you receive tests that you didn’t order, contact Medicare immediately at the customer service number on your Medicare card. To help prevent future fraud, policyholders should always review the Explanation of Benefits (EOB) statements they receive in the mail. These statements show how a claim was paid and to whom.

Any suspicious charges or discrepancies should be reported to Medicare’s fraud hotline, so they can try to rectify the situation. Additionally, staying informed about common fraud schemes and protecting personal Medicare information can help reduce the risk of fraudulent activities.