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Medicare scams target area seniors

Staff writer

Scams aren’t always easy to spot. Sometimes they show up in places people don’t expect.

County aging director Lu Turk had three residents show her falsified Medicare claims in the past two weeks.

In each instance, seniors found claims for medical items they did not receive — or need — that were billed to their Medicare policies.

Medicare explanations of benefits they received showed repeated bills to Medicare for urinary catheters they don’t use. One shows that the senior’s share of the cost for the bogus claim would be $3,728 for 2,000 catheters.

Medicare paid $14,613.80 to the company that claimed to have supplied the catheters.

“I preach to them when they are here to please, please, please read through their mail from Medicare,” Turk said.

A company that sent one claim to Medicare, G&I Ortho Supply, has a New York address.

The Better Business Bureau lists numerous scam complaints about the company.

National Provider Identifier, a database of physicians and medical organizations, also lists numerous complaints of the same scam by the same company.

The database lists Carl F. Hoogesteger as a physician who ordered the catheters. He is licensed in Oregon.

Catheter scams also come from other companies, Turk said.

“I had one catheter scam out of Texas, and one out of Illinois,” she said.

Turk and other Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas volunteers are trying to get the word out about fraudulent catheter scams in the region.

Clients also have reported fraudulent insurance claims for items such as back braces.

Fraudulent activity on a Medicare or Medicare Advantage policy should be reported to (800) 633-4227.

In Kansas, Medicare fraud should be reported to Senior Medicare Patrol at (800) 432-3535.

The Social Security Administration and Office of the Inspector General sponsored a public awareness event last week focusing on Social Security imposter scams.

With Social Security scams, fraudsters deceive victims into making wire transfers or sending cash or gift cards to scam artists who mislead the victims by fear and other practices.

“We urge everyone to protect their personal information, remain vigilant, do not give money, and report any scam attempts to oig.ssa.gov.,” Social Security commissioner Martin O’Malley said.

If there is a problem with someone’s Social Security number or record, the agency typically will send the recipient a letter.

The agency will never tell anyone his or her their Social Security number has been suspended, nor will it demand immediate payment, threaten to have someone arrested, or ask for credit or debit card numbers, gift cards or cash.

Social Security scam attempts may be reported at oig.ssa.gov.

Last modified March 13, 2024

 

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