Senior Medicare Patrol - December 2014 News You Can Use

Suspicious Calls Offer Free Back Braces

            Iowa Senior Medicare Patrol has received reports about likely scam calls from Medicare beneficiaries in Iowa.  One north central Iowa woman lamented that she was called three times in one day!  The caller usually asks to verify your name and address and asks if you have back pain.  (Many of us do, isn’t that a fact!)  The conversation continues with the caller stating that a back brace is ready and waiting to be shipped but they want to verify information about you.  The savvy seniors who reported calls to SMP told us they tried to get the caller to explain what doctor ordered the brace, how did the caller get their phone number and what did the caller mean when he said he “works with Medicare?”  But when the callers are confronted with tough questions, they hang up. 

            Any medical supply company that makes cold calls to Medicare beneficiaries who aren’t already their customers, are breaking Medicare regulations if they try to offer medical equipment or supplies and say the costs will be covered by Medicare.  If you receive such a call and are able to obtain the company’s name, the caller’s name and the phone number, you can make a report to Iowa Senior Medicare Patrol, 1-800-423-2449.  Your report will be given to Medicare officials.  Remember, don’t give personal information like your Medicare number, Social Security number or birth date during a phone call with a stranger. 

Large Drug Store Chain Settles with Government for Alleged Misdeeds

            The Rite Aid national drugstore chain paid the United States government $2.99 million after allegations by the Department of Justice that they offered illegal inducements to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.  Pharmacies are not allowed to exert undue influence to get Medicare or Medicaid customers to decide to buy their prescriptions at a particular store or chain of stores.  The government alleged that during the period 2008 to 2010, Rite Aid offered store gift cards in exchange for the transfer of prescriptions to their stores.            

            Iowa Senior Medicare Patrol advises persons using Medicare and Medicaid health coverage, to be cautious of any inducements, prizes or rewards offered by healthcare providers in order to influence you to choose their business for your health care. 

Source: www.justice.gov/opa/pr/rite-aid-corporation-pays-299-million-alleged-use-gift-cards-induce-medicare-and-medicaid

  • News distributed by Deb Yankey, Iowa Senior Medicare Patrol Coordinator, Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging (NEI3A), Waterloo, IA,  dyankey@nei3a.org