Senior Watch June 18, 2012 

Maine has the oldest population in the nation.Medicare and other health insurance fraud is the number one senior scam in the country.Betty Balderston of Legal Services for the Elderly talks about how to avoid being duped.Health Care Fraud:The FBI’s Task Forces on Seniors has identified health care/Medicare/health insurance fraud as the #1 scam targeting seniors in this country. Since Maine is the oldest state in the nation, it’s important that Mainers understand (1) how to protect their Medicare and other health insurance numbers, (2) how to detect attempts to commit fraud. and (3) how to report any suspicious activities.Even here in Maine we’ve seen health care fraud:Providers billing for services or supplies not provided.An individual trying to steal Medicare prescription drug benefits by using her sister’s Medicare card.A scam artist calling and posing as Medicare, informing the consumer that Medicare is releasing new Medicare cards so the consumers needs to provide not only their Medicare number, but also their checking account number, since the new card costs $40.Unscrupulous health care providers and/or suppliers, individuals and scam artists CAN steal a persons Medicare benefits!Much of this fraud can be avoided or stopped by consumers following a few simple steps:Protect their Medicare and health insurance numbers – only give that info to their own health care providers and suppliersDetect potential fraud by tracking their health care services and supplies & reviewing their statements (show journal)Report suspicious activities to 1-800-Medicare or call the Maine Senior Medicare Patrol at your local Area Agency on Aging at 1-877-353-3771. The Maine SMP can help determine whether a person has been involved in fraud or a scam, provide advice on what to do or even file a complaint with Medicare and law enforcement.