A man living with diabetes, striving to manage his disease with the correct combination of medication and maintaining an all-around healthy lifestyle, receives a phone call offering him a free cookbook full of delicious recipes designed specifically for people with diabetes. All he needs to do is provide some basic information; his name, address, and Medicare number and the cookbook will arrive at his doorstep in just a few days. Sounds like a pretty good deal, right? Maybe for the telemarketer, but certainly not for the Medicare program. Schemes like this are too often used to obtain Medicare and Medicaid patient identification numbers, which are then used to fraudulently bill the programs for diabetes supplies that aren’t medically necessary or are never delivered.

Potential fraud involving diabetic test strips or supplies often begins with an unsolicited call from a medical supplier offering something for free. The caller will say all they need from you is your Medicare number. Never give your Medicare number in exchange for something that is “free.” If it were truly free, why would they need it? Suppliers of durable medical equipment, including diabetic supplies, violate Medicare’s marketing rules when they make unsolicited calls. Your doctor must order any supplies you need that are to be billed to Medicare.

Report these types of calls to the Illinois SMP (Seniors to Prevent Healthcare Fraud) at 1-800-699-9043.
For more information log on http://oig.hhs.gov/newsroom/spotlight/2014/test-strips.asp
Source: Age Options, www.ageoptions.org 3/21/14

Hanna Benioff
Downers Grove Township Senior Services
Phone: 1 (630) 719-6682

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