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Health Care Fraud Costs EveryonePosted Thursday, September 17, 2009, at 2:39 PM
Consumers like you play a big role in the fight against health care fraud by reporting errors and possible fraud. There are 12 simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.
Post these 12 tips on your refrigerator and use them as a daily checklist to make sure you are keeping your personal information and health safe. Remember EVERYONE pays the price for health care fraud, errors and abuse, through higher insurance payments, increased costs for medical services and equipment, and greater expenses for Medicare and Medicaid.
The 12 Tips:
1. Only visit your personal doctor, hospital or clinic for medical help. Only they should make referrals for special equipment, services or medicine.
2. Never show anyone your medical or prescription records without first talking to your doctor or pharmacist.
3. If someone calls and tries to threaten or pressure you into something--simply hang up the phone.
4. If someone comes to your door and says they are from Medicare or some other health care company shut the door...It's shrewd to be rude!
5. Do your homework and talk to your health care provider before buying or investing in internet 'cure-all' or 'miracle' products or services.
6. Don't keep mail in your mailbox for more than one day. People steal personal information right out of your mailbox.
7. Rip up or shred your Medicare or other health care papers and other important documents before throwing them away. Crooks go through the trash!
8. Treat your Medicare and Social Security numbers like credit cards. If someone offers to buy your Medicare or Social Security number, DON'T do it...It's simply not worth it.
9. Remember that "Medicare" doesn't sell anything.
10. Follow your instincts--if it seems too good to be true, it usually is!
11. If you suspect any error, fraud or abuse related to health care, gather the facts and report it.
12. ALWAYS read your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) or health care billing statement. Your Medicare Summary Notice is the piece of mail stamped "This is Not a Bill" that comes in after you get medical care.
Look for three things on your billing statement.--Charges for something you didn't get--Billing for the same thing twice--Services that were not ordered by the Doctor
If you suspect something is wrong call me at 1-800-392-8771.
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Ruth Dockins is the Public Information Director for the Southeast Missouri Area Agency on Aging and author of 'Age Spots,' a column/blog which is featured in several Southeast Missouri newspapers and is devoted to seniors and senior lifestyles.
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