By Shantanu Agrawal, M.D., Deputy Administrator and Director, Center for Program Integrity
Fight health care fraud: guard your Medicare number!
The next Medicare Open Enrollment season (October 15 to December 7) is almost here, which means fraudsters and identity thieves will increase their efforts to get and abuse Medicare numbers from people like you.
Fortunately, there are many measures you can take to fight health care fraud:
- Guard your Medicare number. Protect it the same way you do for your credit card numbers. Medicare will never contact you for your Medicare number or other personal information. Donât share your Medicare number or other personal information with anyone who contacts you by phone, email or by approaching you in person, unless youâve given them permission in advance.
- Donât ever let anyone borrow or pay to use your Medicare number.
- If youâre looking to enroll in a Medicare plan, be suspicious of anyone who pressures you to act now for the best deal. There are no âearly bird discountsâ or âlimited time offersâ. Any offer that sounds too good to be true probably is.
- Be skeptical of free gifts and free medical services. A common ploy of identity thieves is to say they can send you your free gift right awayâthey just need your Medicare number to confirm. Decline politely but firmly. Remember, itâs not rude to be shrewd!
- Do your part to protect your friends and neighbors: remind them to guard their Medicare numbers, too.
- Check your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) to make sure you and Medicare are only being charged for services you actually had. Instead of waiting for the MSN, which comes in the mail every 3 months, you can access your Original Medicare claims at MyMedicare.gov. Youâll usually be able to see a claim within 24 hours after Medicare processes it.
You can report suspected fraud by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048. To learn more about how to protect yourself from health care fraud, visit Medicare.gov or contact your local Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP). To find the SMP in your state, go to the SMP Locator at Smpresource.org.
Filed under: Open enrollment, Strengthening Medicare, Uncategorized
Women have unique health concerns, including certain types of cancers and high rates of chronic disease. Medicare covers many services to address these concerns, like a yearly wellness visit, bone mass measurement, cervical cancer screenings, mammograms, and cardiovascular screenings. Medicare also covers other preventive services, so talk to your doctor about risk factors and to schedule your next screening.
Did you know ovarian cancer accounts for about 3% of cancers among women, but it causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system? Early diagnosis is the key to survival, and the key to early diagnosis is recognizing the symptoms of ovarian cancer:
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
- Urgency or frequency of urination
Currently thereâs no effective screening test for ovarian cancer, and it can be very hard to identify ovarian cancer early. The signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer arenât always clear and may be hard to recognize. Itâs important to pay attention to your body and know whatâs normal for you. If you notice any changes in your body that last for 2 weeks or longer and may be a sign or symptom of ovarian cancer, talk to your doctor and ask about possible causes. Symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know is to see your doctor, nurse, or other health care professional.
Make sure to ask your doctor about your level of risk for ovarian cancer at your âWelcome to Medicareâ visit or your next Yearly âWellnessâ visit.
September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, a perfect time for you to learn more about this disease and know the symptoms. Visit the Centers for Disease Control for more information on ovarian cancer.
Filed under: Medicare coverage, Uncategorized
Did you know you can read the red, white and blue âMedicare & You handbookâ right on your smart phone, computer or tablet?
Visit Medicare.gov to find all of the same information online youâre used to seeing in your printed handbook. Learn whatâs new, get Medicare costs, and find out what Medicare covers. Even better, we update the handbook information on the web regularly, so you can instantly find the latest Medicare information.
You can also do a lot of things on your own at Medicare.govâlike replace your Medicare card, change your address, sign up or make changes to your Medicare coverage, and find out important datesâall before October 15, the start of Medicare Open Enrollment.
Take advantage of some other great features to get just what you need:
Want to trade in your printed copy for a paperless version? Choose to get your next âMedicare & Youâ handbook electronically by using the âgo paperlessâ option. In a few simple steps, youâll be all set. Sign up today, and weâll send you an email including a link to the new online Medicare & You. Itâs instant, current, and convenient.
Also, check out our video for a brief look at some of the features youâll find at Medicare & You on the web.
Filed under: Uncategorized