Victoria Knight reports for Kaiser Health News that family caregivers of institutionalized older adults are getting calls from scammers about the health care needs of their relatives. Medicare telemedicine scams around medical equipment are on the rise.
If you get a call from anyone claiming to be with Medicare about a health care product or service you or someone you love needs, hang up. Or, if you want to know more, ask for the person’s name and callback number. Then, before you do anything else, call Medicare at 1-800-633-4221.
Sometimes, the scammer on the phone pretends to be providing a telemedicine consultation. The scammer may ask about pain. Sometimes you simply receive medical equipment you don’t need.
Whether there’s a call or not, scammers enlist doctors to make orders from medical equipment companies and then bill Medicare for the equipment. The doctors never consult with the Medicare patients, let alone examine them.
If you receive equipment that you did not discuss with your treating physician, report the fraud to Medicare or call your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).
Keep in mind that there are many types of fraud committed, particularly targeting older adults. Never give your personal information to anyone who calls or emails you, including your Medicare number or Social Security number. Do not believe the person if he or she claims to be from Medicare or Social Security or any other agency. Government agencies will never ask you for this information.
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