These are the type of retirement problems that I never thought about before I retired and they are certainly the type of problems you don't want to bring on yourself. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself from Medicare fraud.
How to Prevent Medicare Fraud
* First, it is important that you and your retired relatives know that Medicare will NEVER call you and ask you for your Medicare number or any other personal information. They will not try to sell you products such as insurance or supplemental drug plans. Consequently, there is no reason to ever give your number out over the phone to a stranger who calls you.
* In addition, there is no reason to carry your Medicare card around with you, unless you are going to visit a doctor, hospital, clinic or pharmacy. Once you have given this information to your regular healthcare providers, you will not usually have to keep showing them your card. Furthermore, if you get a Medicare Advantage plan, they will provide you with a separate card that has your plan's member number ... which will be different than your Medicare number. Of course, you'll want to protect your Medicare Advantage number or your Medigap policy number, as well, so that information cannot be stolen and misused.
* Keep track of your doctor visits, tests, surgeries and any other medical procedures. Write them down in a calendar or journal. When you receive your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) and your Part D Explanation of Benefits (EOB), compare them to your personal records. Make sure there are no mystery charges on them. If there are, call your physician and see if they have an explanation for the charges. For example, they may have sent a test to an outside lab or another physician for a second opinion.
* If there are unexpected charges on your bill and no one knows why, report the charges to the Senior Medicare Patrol for your state. They will investigate the fraudulent charges.
You can get more information about preventing Medicare Fraud at:
http://www.smpresource.org (Website for the Senior Medicare Patrol)
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