The National Consumer Protection Technical Resource Center: The Center of Service & Information for SMPs

Health Care Fraud

1. Protect

2. Detect

3. Report

Protect

Protect yourself from Medicare errors, fraud, and abuse.

Protecting your personal information is the best line of defense in the fight against health care fraud and abuse. Every day, consumers get ripped off by scam artists. Medicare and Medicaid lose billions of dollars each year. You can make a difference! 

Here are some ways to take an active role in protecting your health care benefits:

  • Treat your Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security numbers like a credit card number. Never give these numbers to a stranger.
  • Remember, Medicare doesn’t call or visit to sell you anything.
  • Don’t carry your Medicare or Medicaid card unless you will need it. Only take it to doctors' appointments, visits to your hospital, or clinic or trips to the pharmacy.
  • Record doctor visits, tests, and procedures in your personal health care journal or calendar.
  • Save Medicare Summary Notices and Part D Explanations of Benefits. Shred the documents when they are no longer useful.
  • Avoid telephone or email offers of “free” medical tests or supplies in exchange for a “peek” at your Medicare or Medicaid card.
  • Beware of advertising that promises Medicare will pay for certain care or devices.
  • Never sign a blank form. Always read and keep a copy of any document or agreement you sign.
  • If you rent medical equipment, such as a walker, return the item to the medical equipment dealer when you are finished. Always get a dated receipt for the return.
  • Beware of offers of TENS units (battery-powered units that send electrical impulses to reduce pain), nebulizers (breathing machines), noninvasive blood flow studies, “free” cholesterol checks, and promises of “stroke prevention.” Rely on your own doctor’s advice to prescribe appropriate treatment for you.

 

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