With Medicare losses estimated at $60 billion a year due to fraud, errors and abuse, the annual Medicare Fraud Prevention Week puts a focus on prevention actions anyone can take to protect themselves.
The 25th anniversary of Medicare Fraud Prevention Week is June 5-11.
“The most effective way to stop Medicare fraud from happening is to prevent it in the first place,” said Area Agency on Aging President and CEO Mary Lynn Kasunic. "And that begins by educating yourself by understanding how Medicare works.”
Kasunic encourages Medicare beneficiaries to read their Medicare statements and by going online to Medicare.gov to review claims digitally.
The Senior Medicare Patrol Program points to three steps to prevent Medicare fraud: Prevent, Detect, Report
• Prevent: Learn how to read the Medicare Summary Notice and Explanation of Benefits.
• Detect: When reviewing the MSN or EOB, look for services, products or equipment that were not received or were double charged or for items not ordered by the doctor. If there are questionable items, call the doctor or company in question about potential mistakes. If questions remain, call your insurance company.
• Report: Call or email the local SMP at the Area Agency on Aging if you believe you have experienced health care fraud, errors or abuse or if you would like to request a My Health Care Tracker to compare appointment information with what is printed on the MSN or EOB.
“Medicare Fraud Prevention Week is not just for beneficiaries, but should engage caregivers, families, partners, professionals and health care providers who should talk to each other and share what they’ve discovered,” Kasunic said. “Neighbors and friends can also help by looking out for their older neighbors.”
Kasunic emphasized that Medicare numbers or other personal information should never be given out over the phone and that needed medical items should be ordered and provided by medical professionals and never ordered through TV ads or unsolicited phone calls.
For more information, call the Senior Medicare Patrol at 602-280-1059. For more information about the Area Agency on Aging or for assistance call the 24-Hour Senior HELP LINE at 602-264-4357 or visit www.aaaphx.org.
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