Some people with Medicare are getting unordered COVID tests in the mail — lots of tests — and Medicare is getting the bill. Others don’t get tests but find charges for tests on their Medicare statements. People report that they don’t remember agreeing to orders or recognize the names of the companies that charge them. Frauds like this, along with mistakes and abuse, cost Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and steal people’s time and energy. During Medicare Fraud Prevention Week, we’re joining the Senior Medicare Patrol Program in looking for ways to help prevent fraud, errors, and abuse. If you have Medicare, here are some things to consider.
- Don’t give anyone your Medicare number over the phone. Protect it just like you protect your credit card number. Callers who offer “free supplies,” “no-cost” lab tests, or say you need a replacement Medicare card are scammers trying to get your Medicare number. Don’t give them any information. Remember: the real Medicare will never ask for your number. They already have it!
- Read your Medicare Summary Notices (MSN) and Explanations of Benefits (EOB), either on paper or at Medicare.gov. When you read each statement, look for services, products, or equipment Medicare paid for, but you didn’t get. Do the statements show any double charges, or things you or your doctor didn’t ask for?
- If you suspect Medicare fraud, call your health care provider or plan and ask for an explanation. If you aren’t satisfied with their response, call your local Senior Medicare Patrol to find out where to make a complaint. Or call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE. If you got COVID tests you didn’t order, tell the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General online or at 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477).
If you spot other scams, fraud, or bad business practices, please tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.
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I have reported fraud to FTC and received no response!!
I called Medicare about three weeks ago and talked to someone in the fraud dept. told them about receiving Covid test for three or four months that I might have ordered for one month. They said they would investigate it and get back to me in 45 days.
I had two covid kit charges on my Medicare statement. I called Medicare on a Saturday, and one lady took a little information and transferred me to another lady. Lady #2 could not, or would not, take my information because she said her computer was down and I could call back on Monday. I did my civic duty once and have other things on my plate. Medicare should not be paying for covid kits anyway!
That doesn’t help a person pay their bills.What can be done for the people who got scammed? Electricity , medications, those things that have to be paid every month! Many people will go without medications for that month. That can be death for many!If we don’t receive our money we don’t eat.
Thx for such invaluable info!
I would conjecture that many people react as I do to the Medicare reports that come in the mail: I throw them out immediately, because they are unintelligible. They contain a lot of data that are meaningless to me, and prevent me from being sure which are the relevant figures. I find it very hard to relate the information given there to actual events—my doctor's visits and other medical events, my bills (which are themselves often rather cryptic), and similarly complex and unintelligible reports from my health insurance company. (I am retired, with Medicare primary, but an employer-provided health insurance plan supplementing.)
Coincidentally, I got a MSN this week with a paid claim for COVID tests from a Pharmacy I never heard of in Brooklyn, NY. I called Medicare to report the fraud. They found 2 more fraudulent claims that haven't even shown up on my statement yet.
These people have to have someone on the inside in order to obtain your Medicare account number. This article does not address that.
In reply to Coincidentally, I got a MSN… by Arthur Greenberg
I received "notices of data security incidents" on two breached healthcare facilities. The first was COVID tests not orders since May ongoing and a nursing facility for $5K out of Fla. The second just arrived on a health care facility were services were provided in January 2023 and the facility had a data security incident in May, 2023, again where Medicare info was breached. Hackers from the outside--not necessarily someone on the inside.
File reports wherever you can to protect yourself now.
I recieved many of the covid tests, called medicare, because they were charging medicare for these and I did not order them. They sent me a letter and said they are investigating this company,
The Medicare statements I used to receive by mail have stopped. Like so many elderly folks, I find keeping track online difficult. I think that makes it easier for undiscivered fraud, Another problem is that provider codes are a mystery to us. Medicare summaries should give a better verbal description of services alleged. example: Ccharged 25 minutes for actual 5minute visit. Or an unexplained charge from long ago.
In reply to The Medicare statements I… by estelle friedberg
Yes how about approved or not approved procedures with codes only?how are you supposed to know which procedures or charges their talking about.again left in the dark.
Between Medicare and Medicaid the fraud is around 100 billion. I check every bill against my medicare EOB.
THIS ALERT WAS VERY TIMELY AS JUST A FEW DAYS AGO I HAD RECEIVED UNSOLICITED COVID TESTS IN THE MAIL. I USED THIS INFORMATION TO FILE AN ONLINE NOTICE WITH Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General
I don't get any summary notices because I don't have any prescription meds, but I've sure gotten a bunch of covid tests.. Like 16 of them.
Thank you an I'm always trying to help. Today so much going on it's difficult upon everything I'm apart of. The knowledge of knowing how things work it's difficult for me. One thing for sure. Shame on the ones who make it difficulton everyone who does thier best doing the right thing. Helping everyone possible. Thank you to everyone who has made my life an everyone else much easier in many ways. God bless each an everyone. Cheryl Truitt
I don't answer my phone if I do not know who is calling, I get robocalls continuously from people trying to get me to switch my Medicare/Anthem to another provider so I just stopped answering the phone. Only my doctors, family, or someone I know can ever get me to answer the phone. I love it! Turned off the ringer and turned on the message service. And I can tell scam emails when I see them, they automatically go to the trash. lol. It is sad that people who worked all their lives to retire and enjoy life are constantly being harassed by scammers. All older people should just ignore those calls and emails.
I found that its important to whats on your medicare monthly statement. It strangly I
were getting duplicate statements for same doctor service and clinic visits but each statement had an defrent medicare claim number. I am a victim of ID theft and been reported to FTC multiple times in past. as it looks my medicare identity has compromized also.
I am very happy to see that this is being addressed. I had contacted my representative concerning this. Here are the company names that sent test kits to me that I never asked for: Celltrion, DiaTrust, Genabio, iHealth, Indicaid. I have received 24 kits in the May and 16 kits in March/April. Most expired in one months time and 4 expired the day after I received them. All were charged to Medicare. This needs to stop.
I am a resident. I do not have Medicare or Medicaid. I keep getting fraudulent calls claiming they are calling from Obamacare and they are going to provide me with Medicare.
I was recently declared a victim of identity theft by the internal revenue and I reported it to the FTC and also to AIG and still have not gotten any assistance still almost 90 days after
In reply to I was recently declared a… by Kayle Saucier
To get help recovering from identity theft, go to www.IdentityTheft.gov. That's the federal government website for reporting identity theft. Report what happened to you, and the system will make a recovery plan with steps that show what to do about problems caused by the theft. If you make an account, you can keep going back to IdentityTheft.gov for more information and help. The site will make the letters and forms you need to send to resolve problems caused by identity theft.
Some years ago, I reported to Medicare that a certain company had charged my husband's medicare for a product that was returned to them because it wasn't usable . It took several phone calls to them for anyone to say they would even investigate the complaint. The communication among the representatives is nil. Each time I called, I had to start all over again explaining,
It's got so bad that I'm overwhelmed by all of It! I'm presently without UnitedHealthcare insurance or any other insurance due to all the stuff i was receiving in general mail and email. I've still got Medicaid and Medicare, I guess i do. I'm SSID and will Never get better only worse day by day. I need some assistance because my monthly income falls short on things i need. I live alone and everything is done or not by myself, I have no help at all and the pain is more than i can take and that depresses me to the point........... I just don't know what to do anymore?
In reply to It's got so bad that I'm… by Billy Williams
So sorry to hear this, let Jesus be your friend, healer and Savior, He is the only one who can help us in this difficult journey, call on Him to be LORD of your life and He will help you!
I’ve been receiving Medicare statements with charges for tests that I never received. When I have gotten unordered tests many of them are expired. I call the fraud line for medicare to report but I don’t know if the reports are thrown away.