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Protect Yourself

“The strongest defense against crime is not law enforcement, it is informed citizens”
– U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Each year, billions of dollars are lost to Medicare and Medicaid programs due to error, fraud, and abuse.  SMP projects are dedicated to promoting consumer awareness, preventing elder victimization, and working to implement community partnerships to prevent Medicare and Medicaid fraud, error, and abuse.  Our message is simple: Protect, Detect, Report.

Protect yourself from Medicare errors, fraud, and abuse

Protecting your personal information is the best line of defense in the fight against health care fraud and abuse. Every day, consumers get ripped off by scam artists. You can make a difference!

Here are some ways to take an active role in protecting your health care benefits:

  • Treat your Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security numbers like a credit card number. Never give these numbers to a stranger.
  • Remember, Medicare doesn’t call or visit to sell you anything.
  • Don’t carry your Medicare or Medicaid card unless you will need it.
  • Record doctor visits, tests and procedures in your personal health care journal or calendar.
  • Save Medicare Summary Notices (MSNs) and Explanations of Benefits (EOBs). Shred the documents when they are no longer useful.

Detect potential errors, fraud and abuse

Even when you do everything right, there is a chance you could be a target of health care fraud. There are a lot of ways that your personal information can be used without your permission.

Here are some steps you can take to detect potential errors, fraud and abuse:

  • Always review your Medicare Summary Notices and Explanations of Benefits for mistakes. Access to your current Medicare account is available 24 hours a day at www.MyMedicare.gov.
  • Compare your Medicare Summary Notices and Explanations of Benefits to your personal health care journal to make sure they are correct.
  • Look for three things on your billing statement:
  1. Charges for something you didn’t get,
  2. Billing for the same thing twice, and
  3. Services that were not ordered by your doctor.

Report suspected Medicare errors, fraud and abuse

If you suspect errors, fraud or abuse, report is immediately! You will protect other people from becoming victims and help to save your Medicare benefits.

If you see charges on your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) or Explanation of Benefits (EOB) for services you did not receive – or, for something your doctor did not order – please call your provider to ask for an explanation of these charges.

If the provider’s explanation does not resolve your concern, please call Ohio SMP at 513-345-4160 or 1-800-488-6070 or complete the Contact Ohio SMP form.

Where should I report telemarketing fraud and scams?

If you got a suspicious phone call asking for your confidential information for a “free” prize or product, please report these calls directly to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-382-4357 or www.ftc.gov.  Read recent scam alerts here.

What if I gave the caller my Medicare number or my Social Security number?

If you have given your Medicare or Social Security number to a caller, please contact Ohio SMP and follow the instructions at www.IdentityTheft.gov to report potential identity theft.

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