TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — First, crooks sent Medicare recipients COVID-19 tests they didn’t order and billed Medicare millions of dollars. Now, regulators warn they are sending the bills directly to seniors.
Months ago, dozens of Medicare recipients called Better Call Behnken to investigate an influx of mysterious shipments of COVID-19 tests they didn’t want. Despite reporting the fraud to Medicare, the government kept paying.
Robert Baxley showed us the tests sent to his mother, calling the situation “ridiculous.”
“This one is $96,” he said. “They paid $94.”
Medicare pledged to stop paying for the “free” COVID-19 tests in May. Now, a turn of events.
Once the crook steals your Medicare number, submits the claim to Medicare and it is denied, the crooks are now sending the bill directly to you, according to a new warning from the Federal Trade Commission.
If you get a bill for a COVID-19 test you didn’t order, don’t pay. The FTC asks that you report it them and to Medicare.
Check you Medicare explanation of benefits regularly and question anything you don’t recognize. The FTC sent this advice:
- Don’t pay it. By law, companies can’t send you things you didn’t order and then demand payment. If you get a bill like this, report it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
- Check your Medicare Summary Notices (MSN) and Explanations of Benefits (EOB) to see if your account was billed. Statements are available by mail or online at Medicare.gov. Look for services, products, or equipment Medicare paid for that you didn’t get. Do the statements show any double charges, or things you or your doctor didn’t ask for?
- If you suspect Medicare fraud, call your health care provider or Medicare plan and ask for an explanation. If you aren’t satisfied with their response, call your local Senior Medicare Patrol for help filing a report or call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE.
- Report Medicare fraud to the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General online or at 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477). It helps them track down the scammers and try to stop them.