CHICAGO -- They target the poor and the elderly and taxpayers are the ones who pay.
There’s an alarming rise in cases of Medicare fraud nation-wide and the feds say Chicago is not following the trend. Its leading the way.
The problem’s so bad that Medicare imposed it’s first-ever moratorium on new home health agencies in Chicago.
There’s a big difference between getting good help from the amazing providers who do this work properly ad being scammed.
But what seniors can lose is precious access to quality care.
WGN’s Tom Negovan talks with victims and prosecutors about the growing problem.
And here’s some tips to prevent fraud
- Do protect your Medicare number (on your Medicare card) and your Social Security Number (on your Social Security card). Treat your Medicare card like it's a credit card.
- Do remember that nothing is ever "free." Don't accept offers of money or gifts for free medical care.
- Do ask questions. You have a right to know everything about your medical care including the costs billed to Medicare.
- Do educate yourself about Medicare. Know your rights and know what a provider can and can't bill to Medicare.
- Do use a calendar to record all of your doctor's appointments and what tests or X-rays you get. Then check your Medicare statements carefully to make sure you got each service listed and that all the details are correct. If you spend time in a hospital, make sure the admission date, discharge date, and diagnosis on your bill are correct.
- Do be wary of providers who tell you that the item or service isn't usually covered, but they "know how to bill Medicare" so Medicare will pay.
- Do make sure you understand how a plan works before you join.
- Do always check your pills before you leave the pharmacy to be sure you got the correct medication, including whether it's a brand or generic and the full amount. If you don’t get your full prescription, report the problem to the pharmacist.
- Do report suspected instances of fraud.
- Don't allow anyone, except your doctor or other Medicare providers, to review your medical records or recommend services.
- Don't contact your doctor to request a service that you don't need.
- Don't let anyone persuade you to see a doctor for care or services you don't need.
- Don't accept medical supplies from a door-to-door salesman. If someone comes to your door claiming to be from Medicare or Medicaid, remember that Medicare and Medicaid don't send representatives to your home to sell products or services.
- Don't be influenced by certain media advertising about your health. Many television and radio ads don't have your best interest at heart.
- Don't give your Medicare card, Medicare number, Social Security card, or Social Security Number to anyone except your doctor or other authorized Medicare provider.
More information at medicare.gov https://www.medicare.gov/forms-help-and-resources/report-fraud-and-abuse/fraud-and-abuse.html