Protect your identity and help prevent healthcare fraud by guarding your Medicare card like you would a credit card. Scammers are expanding their targets, especially kūpuna, and they can be very convincing. A fraudster recently contacted a Honolulu resident, stating the resident’s name and date of birth. The con artist then offered to replace the resident’s Medicare card if he would share his Social Security Number (SSN). Luckily, the resident did not cooperate with this scammer.
As the new year unfolds, keep the following important reminders handy. Important steps to protect against identify theft that can lead to healthcare fraud include:
◆ Not sharing or confirming your Medicare or SSN with anyone who contacts you by telephone, email or in person, unless you have given them permission in advance. Unless you ask them to, Medicare will never contact you to ask for your Medicare number or other personal information or to send you a new card. Medicare already has your information.
◆ Do not let anyone borrow or pay to use your Medicare number.
◆ Review your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) to be sure you and Medicare are only being charged for actual items and services received.
Hawai‘i leads the 50 states and D.C. in life expectancy, so scammers will continue to tighten their grip on older adults here. So if you get a call offering you a new Medicare card in exchange for your personal information, just hang up. Then report it to Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) Hawaii, a federal-funded program managed by the Hawai‘i Department of Health’s Executive Office on Aging (DOH-EOA).
The 54 SMP chapters throughout the US and territories of Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands help beneficiaries, families and caregivers to prevent, detect and report healthcare fraud, errors and abuse through counseling, outreach and education, thanks to our trained volunteers. Since 1997, SMP has empowered and assisted people through its volunteer-based program — because we know it takes each of us, our entire state, to protect kūpuna.
For more information on healthcare fraud prevention or how to help as a volunteer, contact SMP Hawaii using the information below.
SENIOR MEDICARE PATROL (SMP) HAWAII
Department of Health — Executive Office on Aging
250 S. Hotel St., Ste. 406, Honolulu, HI 96813
808-586-7281 | Toll Free: 1-800-296-9422
firstname.lastname@example.org | smphawaii.org
This project was supported in part by grant number 90MPPG0053 from the US Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC, 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy. The Hawai‘i Department of Health – Executive Office on Aging has administered SMP Hawaii since 1997.