HAVRE, Mont. (NMB) – Medicare recipients are being urged to carefully review their quarterly statements, as the Senior Medicare Patrol is sounding the alarm that people are being billed for services they never received.
Marci Bergren of the Hill County Council on Aging says these charges can be in the thousands of dollars.
“I’ve contacted the doctors involved that are mentioned (in specific statements). Yesterday I was talking to (Northern Montana) Hospital about another case that came in. And they have not received or done any billing for the services the individual is being billed for. So we need people to check their statements very, very carefully. Because we have a lot of fraud that takes money away from our Medicare. Mistakes that you might find are errors and incorrect coding, insufficiencies in that. So you also want to be able to catch those when you look at you billing.”
Bergren says the charges are being sent in by scammers, with it sometimes even looking like it is coming from the state of Montana or hospitals.
“But the addresses and things are different. We know right now that one of our doctors is working with us and working with SMP, that they are using his name and billing for services he doesn’t even provide. So we need people in this area to be even more aware of what’s going on and check that quarterly statement. If they are billed for a service that is fraudulent and it’s not caught and they need that service down the road, it may not be covered because it was already billed for. This is especially true for any durable medical equipment like your bracers, your walkers, that type of thing.”
Bergren says these fraud cases remain under investigation, but believes people’s personal information has been sold, leading to them getting bills saying coverage has been denied by Medicare. She says her office is working with Senior Medicare Patrol and the Department of Justice to catch the scammers.
“We’re here to help. If there is anything you’re not sure of, have any questions. Contact us. We’ll check it out for you, because we don’t want you taken advantage of. And we want to keep the Medicare system from being taken advantage of.”
Anyone with questions or concerns can contact the Hill County Senior Center at 265-5464.