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Watchdogs for Medicare Fraud

All-volunteer group fights scams, helps people avoid rip-offs

You wouldn’t guess it to look at her, but 85-year-old June Richardson plays an active role in the Obama administration’s push to reduce health care costs.

Richardson, of Spencer, Iowa, is one of 4,700 volunteers working nationwide for the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP), a group that looks into instances of potential fraud and advises people how to avoid Medicare rip-offs.

Older citizens need to “be aware that there are people out there who are out to get your money—and that’s all they worry about,” says Richardson, who began working as a Medicare anti-fraud volunteer in 2000.

Richardson regularly talks to groups and is often asked to examine Medicare statements. She sends suspicious items to Iowa’s state SMP coordinator for further investigation.

Since its inception, SMP has saved more than $105.7 million for Medicare, Medicaid and beneficiaries, says Barbara Dieker, who heads the Administration on Aging’s Office of Elder Rights.

For more information about the SMP, go to www.smpresource.org or call 1-877-808-2468 toll-free.

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