North Dakota Senior Medicare Patrol
Did you know that 20 percent of every dollar spent on Medicare goes to fraud? Medicare loses billions of dollars each year due to fraud, errors, and abuse. In 2014 testimony before the Senate Special Committee on Aging, the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association placed these losses at approximately $60 billion annually, though the exact figure is impossible to measure. The most commonly cited range for all health care fraud estimates is 3 to 10 percent of annual health care expenditures. 2012 Medicare expenditures were nearly $600 billion and are expected to rise as the baby boomer population ages.
In July 2006, the North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities (NDCPD) at Minot State University was awarded the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) project. This grant is funded in part through the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA). SMP projects train retired professional volunteers to help their peers become better health care consumers.
The ND SMP project provides products and services to ND seniors that promote understanding of Medicare and Medicaid program benefits. Volunteers work to educate ND seniors about the importance of reviewing their Medicare notices to identify billing errors, as well as potentially fraudulent activity. Program volunteers also encourage seniors to make inquiries to the ND SMP project when such issues are identified, so that the project may ensure appropriate resolution or referral.
ND SMP volunteer, Marcy Witteman, performing “Medicare Fraud Blues” – Music and Lyrics by Kay Meade, Delaware SMP
What is Medicare fraud, abuse and health care error?
- Billing Medicare for services not received.
- Overcharging for services and equipment or incorrect billing.
- Using someone else’s Medicare card (false claims).
- Offering free services or equipment and then charging Medicare.
- Never give out your Medicare/Medicaid or Social Security number to strangers
- Never sign a blank form
- Know whom you can trust
- Do not accept prizes or “free” offers in exchange for your Medicare number
- Avoid providers who promise payment for items or services not usually covered
- Always check your Medicare statements
- Check for overcharges
- Check for services not received
- Check to ensure another person has not used your Medicare card
- Discrepancies with your Medicare billings, services and claims
- Call the company or doctor first to question the change and ask them to correct it with Medicare
- If you suspect fraud when someone offers or gives you free services or equipment
When reporting concerns, have the following information on hand:
- Your name and Medicare number
- The name of the company or doctor
- Date of service
- Description of the problem
This project is supported by funding from the Administration on Aging, Department of Health and Human Services to NDCPD at Minot State University (90MP0010). Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily reflect official Administration on Aging policy.