Home health fraud on the rise, sheriff reports

It has come to the attention of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office that a growing trend of fraudulent health care supplement plans is starting to stir nationwide. As this nation moves toward a more complicated health care system, criminals are successfully taking advantage of citizens. The marketing and selling of Medicare Advantage Plans can be confusing since they are offered and run by private companies.

Lincoln County Sheriff John Cottle recently attended the annual Sheriff’s Conference in Springfield, where presenters presented “red flags” to help local law enforcement authorities’ spot fraud. Sheriff John Cottle provides the following tips for citizens interested in alternatives to traditional Medicare:

• A sales person arrives at your door uninvited to sell Medicare Advantage Plans. Strict marketing guidelines DO NOT ALLOW home visits unless you have given a company authority to do so.

• A sales person contacts you in person or by phone and says they are with Medicare. Medicare does not make home visits or unsolicited phone calls.

• A sales person tells you the plan is a Medicare Supplement Plan, and it will not affect your original Medicare. The plan IS NOT a Medicare Supplement Plan. The plan will provide your primary health care coverage INSTEAD of Medicare.

• A sales person tells you that your doctor accepts the new plan. Your doctor may or may not accept the plan. Contact your doctor’s office immediately to verify.

• A sales person wants to see your Medicare card and have you sign something. DO NOT show your Medicare card and DO NOT sign anything you have not read. Most importantly, DO NOT sign anything you do not understand.

• A sales person wants you to make a decision today – without taking the time to make sure you understand the new plan.

Lincoln County citizens are encouraged to report suspected health care fraud and abuse by calling 1-888-515-6565.

Posted on Monday, August 12, 2013 at 9:17 am