April 20, 2020
OLYMPIA, Wash. - As the coronavirus pandemic continues, Medicare enrollees need to stay vigilant against possible scams, including perpetrators emailing or calling seniors and offering coronavirus vaccines.
“Currently, there’s no FDA-approved coronavirus vaccine,” said Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “Beware of anyone who tries to scare you into giving up your Medicare number or bank account information. If you get one of these calls or emails, hang up or delete the email.”
Kreidler’s Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) program is also Washington state's Senior Medicare Patrol project financed through a federal grant. SHIBA staff and volunteers help people prevent, detect and report Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse.
If people on Medicare have questions, concerns or complaints about potential fraud and abuse, they can contact SHIBA online or call 1-800-562-6900 and ask to speak with SHIBA.
Tips to help Medicare beneficiaries from becoming fraud victims:
- Never give out your Medicare number, Social Security number, or personal information in response to unsolicited calls, texts, emails or home visits. If your personal information is compromised, it may also be used in other fraud schemes.
- Be suspicious of anyone going door-to-door to offer free coronavirus or COVID-19 testing, supplies or treatments.
- Carefully review your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) or Explanation of Benefits (EOB) to look for errors or claims for products or services you didn’t receive or your doctor did not order.
- Follow the instructions of your state or local government for other actions you should be taking in response to coronavirus.
- Contact SHIBA, your local Senior Medicare Patrol for help at 1-800-562-6900. We help Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers to prevent, detect, and report health care fraud, errors, and abuse.
Be aware that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health officials may contact you if they believe you may have been exposed to coronavirus. These officials will never ask you for your insurance or financial information.