COLUMBUS Ohio Lieutenant Governor and Department of Insurance Director Mary Taylor is reminding Ohio seniors to set aside time this spring to learn how to prevent and report Medicare fraud.
"Medicare fraud in its many forms is a billion dollar drain on the national economy and can inflict major financial and emotional damage upon those who are victimized," Taylor said. "While we are aggressively fighting insurance-related fraud, we urge Ohio seniors to utilize the resources available to them and learn how to recognize and report Medicare fraud."
Taylor offers the followings examples and tips to help protect Ohioans as part of nationwide campaign to education seniors about Medicare fraud:
Examples of Medicare Fraud:
A healthcare provider billing Medicare for services that were never delivered.
A supplier billing Medicare for equipment that is never received.
Someone using another person's Medicare card to get medical care or equipment.
A person billing Medicare for home medical equipment after it has been returned.
An insurance agent engaging in questionable practices, such as forging paperwork and switching a clients' plan without their knowledge.
How to Stay Protected:
Walk away if approached in parking lots, shopping centers, or other public areas by someone offering free services, groceries, transportation, or other items in exchange for your Medicare number.
Hang up the phone if someone calls claiming to be conducting a health survey and asks for your Medicare number.
Don't give your information to telephone marketers who claim to be from Medicare or Social Security and ask for payment over the phone or Internet.
Do not sign any paperwork until you have a trusted advisor confirm the product will meet your needs.
Check medical bills, summary notices, explanations of benefits, and credit reports for irregularities.
Be on the lookout for high pressure sales tactics: When selling Medicare products, agents cannot collect your contact information unless they have your permission, sell policies door-to-door, or send unsolicited emails.
Taylor's fraud prevention efforts coincide with a TV and radio campaign launched in Ohio by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public service announcements airing throughout Ohio are directed to seniors emphasize the importance of recognizing a common scam and protecting sensitive personal information.
Detailed information and tips are available on the Department's website at www.insurance.ohio.gov. To report insurance agents who use deceptive sales practices, call the Department at 1-800-686-1527. For those with questions about Medicare, contact the Department's Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP) at 1-800-686-1578 or Medicare, 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). If you suspect Medicare fraud call 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477).