Some important security things to know about Medicare and the Social Security Administration include:
- Medicare usually does not contact you via phone, except for limited circumstances.
- Medicare will never call you uninvited to sell products or services.
- Social Security representatives might call you if they need more information to process Social Security benefits applications or Medicare plan enrollment, but this is rare.
- If a phone call is necessary, you will receive a letter from the Social Security Administration to arrange a phone interview.
- Medicare cards do not expire.
- If your Medicare card is lost or destroyed, contact the Social Security Administration directly to request a replacement here. If you think someone else is using your Medicare card, call Medicare directly at 1-800-633-4227.
Common Medicare Scams That You Should Be Aware Of
Most Medicare scams occur over the phone, but you may also be aware of some email scams, or scams in your mail or involving door-to-door visits. Fraudulent callers will steal someone’s identity by making up stories to access their name, Social Security Number, and banking information.
In 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began distributing Medicare cards without Social Security Numbers on them, replacing them with a unique Medicare number, which should also be protected.
Some common scams that Medicare beneficiaries should be aware of include:
- Attempts to verify identity. If someone calls you asking for you to provide information regarding your identity to receive a new or updated Medicare card, it is a scam.
- Offers of free medical supplies. Some callers pretend to offer durable medical equipment or a checkup at no cost because “Medicare will cover it” – the catch being that you need to provide your Medicare number to verify coverage. This is a scam.
- Saying you are entitled to a refund. A scammer may also say that due to a change in your coverage, you’re owed a refund and they need your bank account information and Medicare Number so they can deposit the money. This is a scam.
How Can We Prevent Or Protect Ourselves from Medicare Scams?
The best thing you can do is to never give out sensitive information, such as your Medicare card number, Social Security Number, or banking information over the Internet or phone. However, if you called to join a Part C or Part D plan, you may be asked to provide information over the phone.
This may also be required through the Medicare Plan Finder tool to shop for plans. Be aware that these entities still will never ask for things like banking information over the phone, and you will have to call them first. You should only give private information to your doctor, your insurer, and people you trust.
|Protect your Medicare Number and Social Security Number.||Give out your Medicare Card, Medicare Number, or Social Security Number to anyone except for your doctor or insurer.|
|Guard your Medicare card and know how Medicare will use your personal information.||Accept offers of free medical care, money, or gifts.|
|Remember that Medicare will never call you, unless they are asking about a plan you’re already a member of or they are calling you back after you’ve left a message.||Allow anyone other than your doctor or Medicare providers to review your medical records or services.|
|Contact the Federal Trade Commission if you think you’re a victim of identity theft.||Join a Medicare or drug plan over the phone unless you were the one who made the call.|
Identifying Fraudulent Caller IDs
Scammers aren’t always easy to identify, so your best bet is to not answer calls from unknown numbers. If you or someone you know answers a suspicious call, be wary and do not provide any personal information. Any information you provide can be used against you.
Think you’re on the phone with a scammer? Say you’d like to call them back and ask for their direct number – they will realize you’re onto them and hang up.
Medicare Card Scams
Since the release of the new Medicare cards, there have been many scams regarding them. Know that you do not need to update your information, pay a fee, or do anything to “activate” your card as a Medicare beneficiary. Medicare cards with microchips in them are for enhanced data security and Medicare does not offer plastic cards.
How to Report Medicare Fraud
If you think you’re a victim of fraud, call your provider’s office to ask about it. They can help you understand any charges and figure out if errors were made. If you have been charged for an item or service you didn’t receive, or your Medicare card/number is stolen, report to these resources:
- 1-800-MEDICARE or the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services – Office of the Inspector General can help if you’ve experienced provider fraud or abuse in Original Medicare.
- 1-800-MEDICARE or the Investigations Medicare Drug Integrity Contractor (1-877-7SAFERX) can help if you’ve experienced provider fraud or abuse in a Medicare Advantage or Medicare drug plan.
When you call, have this information ready:
- Your name and Medicare card.
- The name of the provider you’re reporting, along with their identifying information.
- The service/item you’re suspicious of.
- The amount that Medicare approved and paid for.
- The date on your Medicare Summary Notice, Explanation of Benefits, or claim.
Stay Protected and Insured by Exploring Your Options
To be informed about the latest Medicare plans and options, it is best to explore them via a Medicare professional. CoverageHaven is here to help, making sure you know all the plan options available to you, as well as the latest updates, news, and information pertaining to health insurance. Stay safe, secure, and covered with help from CoverageHaven.