Learn how to spot and avoid impostors at our free, two-part webinar Feb. 18 and 20. Register today!
AARP Nebraska, April 19, 2010
Health care fraud is big business across the U.S., ranging from $80 billion to $160 billion in losses each year. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that consumers themselves lose more than $10 billion annually to health care fraud.
As part of a nationwide effort to fight health care fraud and combat waste, Nebraska’s Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) relies on a dedicated corps of volunteer educators. Volunteers help people in their communities identify and report possible Medicare or Medicaid fraud, error or waste and give consumers tips on how they can protect themselves from being victimized.
Last year, about $1.2 million in suspected health care fraud in the state was referred to investigators, according to SMP Project Director Madhavi Bhadbhade with Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services.
“This criminal activity hurts beneficiaries because Medicare and Medicaid money is wasted that could be used to increase and improve health care services,” she said. “It affects everyone by throwing away billions of taxpayer dollars. Our volunteers empower consumers to recognize the signs and report potential cases of fraud for further investigation and action by the proper authorities.”
Bhadbhade said the most common complaints from consumers involve billing errors and improper claims, such as Medicare being billed more than once for the same procedure, for services never ordered by a doctor or for something a patient never received. In 2009, a court ordered a now-closed Lincoln scooter store to pay back a combined $250,000 to Medicare and Medicaid after a beneficiary tipped off the state to high pressure sales tactics.
More than 100 SMP volunteers and staff educated nearly 25,000 older Nebraskans about how to avoid becoming victims of health care fraud in the past year. They visit senior centers, nursing homes, retirement communities, health fairs and elsewhere to encourage Medicare beneficiaries to guard their personal information, be alert to suspicious sales pitches and carefully review their Medicare paperwork for accuracy.
“Volunteers connect us with the public and are critical to our success. We’re always seeking interested volunteers throughout Nebraska who want to make a real impact by joining our efforts to crack down on health care fraud,” Bhadbhade added.
To learn more about volunteering or to file a complaint of possible Medicare or Medicaid fraud, contact Nebraska SMP toll free at 1-800-942-7830. Read about fraud prevention tips and consumer alerts at www.dhhs.ne.gov/smp.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Members can take a free confidential hearing test by phone.
Members get Staying Sharp for FREE – brain-boosting recipes, activities, games and more.
Members save 15% all day, every day at participating locations.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at