Unordered COVID-19 tests — and bills — are arriving on doorsteps around the country. What’s going on? It’s another scam targeting people with Medicare. Here’s what to do if you get billed for tests you didn’t order.
In June, the FTC warned about scammers stealing people’s Medicare numbers and billing Medicare for COVID-19-related services (and other things) that they sometimes got — and sometimes didn’t. The difference now? You might be getting the bill instead of Medicare. That’s because after May 11th, when the COVID-19 Health Emergency officially ended, Medicare and other health insurance plans stopped paying for many at-home over-the-counter COVID-19 tests. Once Medicare denies payment, those scammy companies could come back with a bill in your name.
Here's what to do if you get one of these bills for unordered COVID-19 tests:
- Don’t pay it. By law, companies can’t send you things you didn’t order and then demand payment. If you get a bill like this, report it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
- Check your Medicare Summary Notices (MSN) and Explanations of Benefits (EOB) to see if your account was billed. Statements are available by mail or online at Medicare.gov. Look for services, products, or equipment Medicare paid for that 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 Medicare plan and ask for an explanation. If you aren’t satisfied with their response, call your local Senior Medicare Patrol for help filing a report or call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE.
- Report Medicare fraud to the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General online or at 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477). It helps them track down the scammers and try to stop them.
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What should people do if they receive TESTS they didn't order, along with the bill? Mark them return to sender?
In reply to What should people do if… by Jennifer
By law, companies can’t send unordered merchandise to you, then demand payment. That means you never have to pay for things you get but didn’t order. You also don’t need to return unordered merchandise. You’re legally entitled to keep it as a free gift.
Thanks for the alert and instructions.
I actually called Medicare a few weeks ago when I got a bill for $100. The investigator was very nice and helpful. To my surprise she told me that the department had been catching bogus billings in my account for one or two years now! And they told me that a Medicare letter saying I may owe $89 for a procedure should have been paid by my Medigap coverage. I'm waiting for that one to come through.
But I sure will be questioning anything suspicious from now on.
I love all the actions the FTC has been taking in it's role, too.
Keep up the great work!
I was notified by bc/bs Medicare had forward balance for
200 catheters from Royce MDE. Total bill approx $3500!
Did not order! Do not need!!
Got new Medicare card yesterday and will get one from BC/BS
Soo who is watching the Medicare “hen house!”
Thanks for the heads up.
I received Covid home test kits that I was told no charge but now Medicare I received two denials for home covid test at 200.00 x2
This happened to me last month and I called Medicare immediately! Someone had ordered 9 Covid test since 9/2022- June 2023 and I never received any of the test.
Thank you for putting up this article. I've been wondering what could be done to stop this craziness from continuing, and I'm glad that you provided an answer. Now they are calling about a DNA test that my doctor ordered for me, when I ask what's my doctor's name they hang up. Just today, I received 19 calls from scammers, how can we stop this?
In reply to Thank you for putting up… by EJ
A couple things: put yourself on the Do Not Call list if you haven't already. That will stop calls from legitimate companies. But scammers don't care about the Do Not Call list. So set up all your family, friends, Dr's ofc, etc, in a contacts list. When they call, you'll see it on your caller ID. And then, simply don't answer calls you don't recognize. Let them all go to voicemail. Anyone who wants to talk to YOU will leave a message. Delete robocall messages unless they identify themselves as being from a business you use, such as a dr's ofc. Don't be afraid to mute that phone!
In reply to Thank you for putting up… by EJ
I began first by not answering any numbers I didn't know, seeing if they left a voice mail and finally blocking the numbers. If they are blocked they don't ring on my phone, plus Consumer Cellular has a spam program that blocks suspicious calls. I enrolled in the "do not call" registered years ago. Good luck!
What do I do if I and my insurance paid for a Covid test at a drug store and they won't send me the results?
In reply to What do I do if I and my… by Ami
Call the Medicare Hotline number on the back page of your Medicare statement and report the fraud. Only your Doctor or licensed medical professional can discuss your protested healthcare information with you.
Your test results will go to the Doctor who ordered the tests, your Doctor is responsible for reviewing the results with you. Anything less is Health Care Fraud, report it!
Last April I went to Eckerds Pharmacy to get my Prevnar 20 vaccine. When I received my insurance claim, it showed the shot, which was paid for by insurance. It also showed a $112.00 claim for 8 Covid-19 test kits (also covered by insurance), which I never requested or received. I reported this to my insurance company and they contacted Eckerds. The owner of the pharmacy lied to them and said I received the test kits and my insurance is taking their word over mine.
In reply to Last April I went to Eckerds… by Margaret
I hope you have changed to a new pharmacy
A COVID 19 test was sent to a previous owner of my house who is now deceased. Not sure if it's a medicare scam this owner has been deceased for over 3 years.
I received covid test I did not order and they were charged to medicare. I reported this earlier but have not received information as to what to do with them