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Fight Fraud, Save Medicare Billions

Billions of dollars are lost each year to waste, inefficiency and fraud in Medicare. This waste is driving up your health care costs and threatening Medicare’s long-term security. Waste takes many forms – but they all cost money that would better go to improving the care you need.

A 2009 AARP survey found out that nearly one in five people in Medicare had personal knowledge of fraud or abuse in the program. The survey found that 19% either had experienced or knew from others about wasteful and improper actions, such as:

  • tests or treatments that may have been unnecessary, unhelpful, or simply duplicated a previous test
  • attempts to sell them Medicare medical supplies (such as electronic mobility scooters, diabetes test strips, etc.) that were not needed to improve their health or conditions
  • bills for tests or treatments that they did not receive

The patient protection and affordable care act takes steps to fight fraud, eliminate waste and control abuse. The law provides funding to fight fraud, steps up enforcement, improves care coordination and reduces excessive subsidies to private insurance companies.

Even so, it is still important to know how to protect yourself from fraud.

Rely only on trusted sources for information on your coverage. It is important to know the government does not go door to door or make phone calls to sell you health insurance.

Protect your personal information. Keep your full name, date of birth, Social Security number, Medicare number and bank account information private. Since your Medicare number is the same as your Social Security number, it would be a good idea to only carry your Medicare card when you know you will need it to get coverage. Or, make a copy to carry with the all but the last 4 digits of your number scratched off. If you are in an accident and need emergency medical care, no hospital will deny you treatment because you don’t have your card with you.

Report suspicious activity. We all have a responsibility to fight fraud. If you suspect fraud, contact the South Dakota Senior Medicare Patrol (1-800-822-8804) or Medicare (1-800-MEDICARE (633-4227) so it can be investigated and prosecuted.

Find more information on the new health care law, and fighting fraud online.

AARP South Dakota has compiled a list of helpful resources to help you get the facts, protect yourself from fraud, and know where to turn for answers to your health care questions. We’ve put them all on a convenient, easy to read bookmark. To receive a copy, email us at, or call 1-866-542-8172.

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