Con artists can try to get your patients’ Medicare Numbers or personal information so they can steal their identity and commit Medicare fraud. Medicare fraud results in higher health care costs and taxes for everyone. So, you will have to take care of all HIPAA compliances. Whether you have outsourced medical billing or hired staff to do the billing at your premises, you have to follow all HIPAA guidelines to make sure every patient’s information is safe and secure.
Medicare Open Enrollment Period
This year’s Medicare Open Enrollment Period starts on Oct 15 to Dec 7 2020 is near, which means con artists may try to steal the patient’s identity and commit Medicare fraud. Medicare has taken action to make Medicare cards safer by replacing Social Security Numbers with more secure ID numbers. But even with those efforts, fraudsters may still try to take advantage of patients during Open Enrollment.
How to prevent Medicare fraud?
The most important thing your patients can do is guard their Medicare card like it’s a credit card. They should not share their Medicare card or Number to anyone except you or people they know. Medicare has published some guidelines for patients to avoid fraud in CY 2020.
Patient’s guidelines to protect Medicare Card:
- Keep your Medicare Number to yourself. If you get a call from people promising you things if you give them your Medicare Number – don’t do it. This is a common Medicare scam.
- Refuse any offer of money or gifts for free medical care. A common ploy of identity thieves is to say they can send you your free gift right away — they just need your Medicare Number.
- Use a calendar to record all of your doctors’ appointments and any tests you get. When you check your Medicare statements, look out for any items and services listed and other details that don’t look correct. If you see a charge or service that you think is incorrect and you know the provider, call their office and ask about it.
- Learn how a Medicare plan works before you join.
- Stay alert for fraud during the coronavirus disease 2019 (or COVID-19) national emergency. Con artists like to take advantage of people when they’re distracted.
Medicare Tips for your patients to Prevent Fraud
- Protect your Medicare Number and your Social Security Number.
- Use a calendar to record all of your doctor’s appointments and any tests you get.
- Learn more about Medicare and recent scams.
- Know what a Medicare plan can and can’t do before you join.
- Give your Medicare card, Medicare Number, Social Security card, or Social Security Number to anyone except your doctor or people you know should have it.
- Accept offers of money or gifts for free medical care.
- Allow anyone, except your doctor or other Medicare providers, to review your medical records or recommend services.
- Contact your doctor to request a service that you don’t need.
Committing Medicare fraud is illegal & you should report it
If you suspect fraud, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048. If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare drug plan, call the Medicare Drug Integrity Contractor (MEDIC) at 1-877-7SAFERX (1-877-772-3379).
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