Medicare Fraud: Don’t Be Victimized by These 5 Tactics
An estimated 37% of older adults have fallen prey to some form of financial abuse, with an average financial loss of $36,000. While anyone can be targeted for fraud, this demographic may be considered particularly vulnerable because of their built-up retirement savings.
The term “financial abuse” generally brings to mind a trusted caregiver, friend or family member who victimizes the person in their care — taking advantage of the situation to move funds into their own account, sell assets and keep the proceeds, or convince the victim to name them as a beneficiary in their will.
But there’s also a new danger on the horizon: Medicare fraud. These thieves — a group that sometimes includes social workers, lawyers, financial advisors or other professionals who use their credentials to gain a victim’s trust — can put your health records and insurance coverage at risk.
Here’s what to look out for:
- Upcharging. This can occur when Medicare is billed by an unscrupulous healthcare provider for a more expensive procedure or medical device (think pacemaker or replacement joint) than the one you actually received.
- Medical identity theft. If a fraudster gets hold of your Medicare number, they can submit fraudulent claims under your name. You may be denied important diagnostic testing or other medical services, and run the risk of incorrect information on conditions or medications endangering your health.
- Billing fraud. Similar to upcharging, a healthcare provider can charge your insurance company for services never delivered, known as phantom billing. And if you’ve ever received duplicate claims for a single service, the healthcare provider may be engaging in a practice called double-dipping.
- Prescription fraud. In prescription fraud, thieves steal your Medicare number to obtain medications they can sell illegally. Most people don’t know they’re a victim until their own prescriptions are denied.
- Fake freebies. If a medical-related product is available “at no cost to you”, there’s no need for anyone to ask for your Medicare information. It’s most likely a scam.
Fight back against expensive insurance fraud
Medicare fraud wastes a lot of money — approximately $60 billion each year, which drives up insurance premiums, taxes and the cost of care for everyone. Be smart and keep your personal information safe:
- Don’t give out your Medicare number unless it’s absolutely necessary — for example, to fill a prescription or to receive care.
- Guard your Medicare ID as you would a credit card.
- Thoroughly review each Explanation of Benefits and doctor’s invoice for errors.
- Report any suspicious behavior directly to Medicare or your secondary insurance company.
Safeguarding your Medicare information is a critical part of maintaining strong financial health during retirement. To learn more about protecting yourself, contact your local Senior Medicare Patrol.
Boost your retirement funds with an often-overlooked asset
When it comes to financial well-being in retirement, sometimes your retirement savings and monthly Social Security benefits aren’t sufficient to live the lifestyle you envisioned. If that’s the case, a reverse mortgage loan may be an option worth considering if you’re a homeowner age 62 or older.
A reverse mortgage lets you leverage your home’s equity, giving you access to funds that you can use today for expenses such as healthcare, or as a line of credit whenever you need it. No monthly loan payments are required; like any mortgage, you must meet your loan obligations, keeping up with your home’s property tax payments, insurance and maintenance.
Not quite 62 yet? Reverse Mortgage Funding LLC (RMF) also offers another type of reverse mortgage loan — Equity Elite for homeowners and homebuyers as young as 60.* Available in certain states, Equity Elite may give you access to more funds than a traditional mortgage. And with no required Mortgage Insurance Premium, Equity Elite may have lower upfront costs than a traditional reverse mortgage.
Whether you’re newly retired or planning for the future, RMF can help you explore your financial options. Call (888) 277-1567 to set up a convenient phone appointment with an experienced reverse mortgage specialist.
This content is sponsored by RMF, one of the nation’s leading reverse mortgage lenders. We are dedicated to helping older Americans live the retirement lifestyles that they imagined and deserve, in the comfort of their own homes. As a result of our commitment to providing an extraordinary and positive customer experience, we have earned a 98% customer satisfaction rating; a 5-star / Excellent score on Trustpilot; 4.8 out of 5 stars on LendingTree; and an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Call (888) 277-1567 to speak with one of our experienced reverse mortgage specialists to learn about our retirement financing products and solutions.
SEE WHAT FUNDS YOU MAY HAVE AVAILABLE
If you have equity in your home and believe you meet the eligibility requirements, a HECM may be the option that could help you retire smart.
*Not applicable in all states; some states may impose a higher age requirement. Visit www.reversefunding.com/equity-elite for details.
This information is intended for those who are interested in financial education. This information is provided for convenience only, and RMF make no warranties concerning the accuracy or completeness of any of the information. Information is subject to change without notice, and RMF is under no obligation to provide updated information. Materials or statements made by a third party and located or posted on the Site are those of the third party and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RMF. This is not financial, tax, compliance or legal advice and should not be taken or relied upon as such. Each individual should consult with his/her financial, tax, or legal professional. All mortgage origination services are provided by Reverse Mortgage Funding LLC, a state licensed mortgage lender, which is licensed or otherwise exempt from state licensing in the states in which it originates mortgage loans.
Equity Elite Reverse Mortgage (“Equity Elite”) is Reverse Mortgage Funding LLC’s proprietary loan program, and it is not affiliated with the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) loan program, which is insured by FHA. Equity Elite is available to qualified borrowers who also may be eligible for HUD, FHA’s HECM program or are seeking loan proceeds that are higher than HUD, FHA’s HECM program limit. Equity Elite currently is available only for eligible properties in select states. Please contact your loan originator to see if it is currently available in your state.
Upon a maturity event, any non-borrowing individuals with an ownership interest in the property, including non-borrowing spouses, will have 90 days to purchase the property from the estate or, if the non-borrower inherits the property, pay the loan in full using any sources of funds available to them. Any non-borrowing individual, including a non-borrowing spouse, should have a plan to pay off an Equity Elite reverse mortgage upon the borrower’s death or any other maturity event. If the non-borrower is unwilling or unable to purchase the property or pay the loan in full, there is no protection for the non-borrower (including a non-borrower spouse) to maintain an interest in the home or to continue residing in the home past the maturity event and the non-borrower may be evicted upon foreclosure. The FHA HECM program has protections in place for certain non-borrowing parties, so a reverse mortgage applicant with certain non-borrowing parties should strongly consider a FHA-insured HECM loan (see HECM guidelines or ask an RMF representative for details). Under the Equity Elite reverse mortgage loan program, a maturity and/or default event occurs when the last surviving borrower no longer lives in the home as his or her primary residence for at least 12 months, the property charges (including taxes, insurance, or any other property charges) are not paid, required repairs are not completed or the property is not maintained, or any other maturity and/or default event, as specified in the Security Instrument, occurs.