In 2018, Medicare cards were changed. The Social Security Number was removed from all cards and changed to an individual Medicare beneficiary identifier (MBI). At that time, Medicare card scams were rampant. The goal of the new cards was to prevent fraud and abuse. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of scammers out there attempting to use the system.
New Medicare chip card scam
Now, scammers are calling to say they need your information to issue you a new Medicare chip card. People in North Dakota and Tennessee have reported these types of calls, and the scammers could soon be targeting other states.
Not to worry; your Medicare card will remain a paper card, and you will not receive a new chip card.
The scammer may ask you personal questions and attempt to get your Medicare card information from you.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said that they are aware of the scam and that scammers are using the person’s Medicare number to bill fraudulent claims. Scammers also use stolen personal information to fill prescriptions or sell the information on the dark web.
Types of Medicare fraud
Medicare fraud is simply an instance of illegitimately collecting money from the Medicare program. It can take many forms, including:
- Phantom (or ghost) billing – when the care provider bills Medicare for procedures that were not performed or for equipment that was not needed
- Patient billing – when the patient gives his or her Medicare number to be billed for services not rendered or that they didn’t need (the patient is also at fault here)
- Upcoding and unbundling – inflating bills by using a false code that indicates the patient needed expensive treatments that they didn’t really need
Other types of medical billing fraud and abuse include:
- Cloning – copying information from another patient’s file to appear as if a more thorough examination was done
- Inflated hospital bills – when huge overcharges occur for medical procedures or equipment
- Repeat billing – billing twice for the same procedure, supplies, or medicine
- Length of stay – when patients are charged for extra days in the hospital or other facility
- Time in OR – when the hospital charges based on the average time needed to perform an operation, not the actual time
- Keystroke mistake – when a care provider enters incorrect codes, resulting in overcharges
Medicare fraud: The takeaway
Remember, Medicare will not call your home. They will not threaten you or ask for personal information. Don’t be afraid to simply hang up the phone. You don’t have an obligation to be polite.
Avoid scams and stay safe! When in doubt, you may call Medicare or Social Security’s official number.
Medicare: 1 (800) 633-4227
Social Security: 1 (800) 772-1213