North Dakota Senior Medicare Patrol
Did you know that $1 out of every $10 spent on federal health programs is wasted? It is estimated that Medicare and Medicaid programs alone lost more than $47 billion dollars last year to a handful of dishonest individuals and simple errors. Annual losses in both the public and private sectors due to health care fraud range from 5 to 10 percent of all health care expenses--between $90 and $180 billion based on 2004 estimated health care expenditures of $1.8 billion.
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.
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.