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Medicare/Medicaid Tele-scams

Seniors are constantly being targeted with telemarketing scams. This happens for a number of reasons. They are characteristically more trusting, they health concerns are easy to play off of, they are a group who has kept their land line service, and they have nest eggs and retirement money. I have done my best to keep the torches lit around here for them bringing awareness to a few scams targeting seniors, but alas here is yet another one:

The law states right now that making unsolicited calls to Medicare beneficiaries about “durable medical equipment”. The calls ask if Medicare recipients would be interested in ordering hospital beds, wheelchairs, or other medical hardware. These types of calls are only allowed in 3 situations: if a beneficiary gives written permission to the supplier to make contact by phone; if the contact is regarding a covered item the supplier has already furnished to the Medicare beneficiary; or if the supplier has furnished at least one covered item to the beneficiary during the preceding 15 months.

The greatest defense is knowing your Medicare/Medicaid rights. The fraudsters have been claimed to be using half-truths and whole lies to bring their victims into their traps.

The prescription drug racket continues on the phones too. Reports keep pouring in which indicate people are receiving calls claiming to offer assistance for enrolling in Medicare’s prescription plan. They claim a Medicare card will expire or a similar story, and ultimately asking for personal information.  Callers reported being asked for a bank account, credit card, or a social security number.

Anyone with information about durable medical equipment suppliers or telemarketers engaging in any of the activities described above should contact the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Service’s Fraud Hotline first at 1-800-447-8477.