TALLAHASSEE — On March 18, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs’ SHINE Program issued guidance to the state’s more than 5.5 million elders on how to protect yourself against Medicare fraud as the state responds to COVID-19.
“Medicare provides some easy-to-use and preventive measures you or your loved ones may wish to use to help avoid identity theft and other potential scams as our state responds to COVID-19,” said FDOEA Secretary Richard Prudom. “We encourage all seniors to heed this guidance, including protecting your Medicare number and not giving out your Medicare card to anyone except your doctor or those you know should have it. These suggestions are beneficial for any possible fraud. I also encourage seniors to visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services dedicated COVID-19 webpage at www.medicare.gov/medicare-coronavirus.”
Keep this list in mind to help prevent Medicare fraud:
• DO protect your Medicare number and treat your Medicare card like it’s a credit card.
• DO review your Medicare claims for errors and problems, including things like fake charges, double billing or other fraudulent activity, waste or abuse.
• DO visit medicare.gov/fraud to learn more about how you can protect yourself from Medicare fraud.
• DON’T give your Medicare card or Medicare number to anyone except your doctor or people you know should have it.
Other ways Medicare is helping:
Every day, Medicare is responsible for developing and enforcing the essential health and safety requirements that health care providers must meet. When you go to a healthcare provider, you expect a certain standard of care, and we work to make sure you get it. That includes taking the following additional steps in response to coronavirus:
• Establishing new codes to allow providers to correctly bill for services related to diagnosis and treatment of the illness.
• Instructing our national network of State Survey Agencies and Accrediting Organizations to focus all their efforts on infection prevention and other cases of abuse and neglect in nursing homes and hospitals.
• Instructing nursing homes and hospitals to review their infection control procedures, which they’re required to maintain at all times.
• Issuing important guidance answering questions that nursing homes may have with respect to addressing cases of COVID-19
Reporting Medicare Fraud
If you think you may have spotted fraud, you should report it right away. No matter how minimal the information you share is, it could be the missing piece to stopping the next fraud scheme. If you are a victim of fraud, know that you won’t be penalized or lose your coverage for reporting it. Even if you are not a victim, it’s important to report any fraud scams you encounter to Medicare. Report suspected fraud by calling 1-800-96-ELDER or visit www.floridashine.org and click on the Contact Us tab at the top of the page.