Seniors being targeted for health care schemes - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Seniors being targeted for health care schemes

(Source: Raycom Media) (Source: Raycom Media)
Open enrollment for the Affordable Health Care Act ends February 15th, and in the last few days scammers are targeting Medicaid and Medicare applicants.

It's not just providers over-billing you to get insurance money. Now some are stealing your identity.

"Anybody can be a target. They don't really care who they get or who they defraud as long as they get their money," says Cynthia Abel.

Abel is an advocate for senior citizens. She says there are several ways scammers can defraud you.

These scams can include fraudulent billing, mail order prescriptions and identity fraud. She says one of her own family members almost became a victim.

"They had some diabetes supplies and they wanted to sell them to her but she needed to give them her Medicare number. She gave them her number, and apparently she gave it to them wrong, because she couldn't remember it, and they called back. I picked up the phone and I told them she wasn't telling them anything," says Abel.

That's what Abel advises people to do:  don't give out your information. It could cause financial devastation.

"You'll start getting billed for all kind of stuff on Medicare and Medicaid numbers. So don't ever give those out unless it's to your doctor, hospital or healthcare provider. Those are the only people who need to know what those numbers are," states Abel.

She also warns Medicare and Medicaid representatives will not visit you at your home.

Officials from government agencies won't be showing up out of the blue either. And the trickle down effect of these types of scams is costly to taxpayers.

"It makes prices go up. It's just not good all the way around for the consumer because we have to bear the brunt of everything," says Abel.

She adds, it's never a good idea to keep your cards on you.

"Lock it up somewhere where people can't get a hold of it. Just be proactive and check everything. That's a way you can fight against this. Just don't give your information out," says Abel.

Click here for information on healthcare fraud, fighting scammers and protecting yourself 

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