Reblogged from the Administration for Community Living
By Rebecca Kinney, Director, Office of Healthcare Information and Counseling

Each year, Medicare loses an estimated $60 billion due to fraud, errors, and abuse. Fraud happens every day — from charges for supplies that were never received to coercion to share financial information and Medicare numbers. Fraud can happen to anyone, and its impact on individuals and families can be devastating.

We know the most effective way to combat fraud is to prevent it from happening. That’s why the Administration for Community Living (ACL) is in our third year of leading Medicare Fraud Prevention Week (MFPW) to raise awareness and teach beneficiaries, caregivers, and communities how to protect themselves and others. This isn’t a one-week effort for us, though. Every day, our Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) program is making a difference in communities across the country.

For Medicare Fraud Prevention Week, we're teaching beneficiaries, caregivers, and communities how to protect themselves and others.

SMP provides free, unbiased, one-on-one assistance to Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers. Local team members teach people how to prevent fraud, assist beneficiaries with billing errors and disputes, and help to report suspected fraud to state and federal agencies. SMP has offices in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) collects performance data on SMP activities and prepares an annual report on outcomes. The last report showed that 53 SMP projects conducted over 18,000 outreach events and had nearly 247,000 individual interactions with or on behalf of a Medicare beneficiary. We’re also demonstrating a significant financial impact. The OIG report cites $153,000 in expected Medicare recoveries, $31,000 in cost avoidance, and $74,000 in savings to beneficiaries and others.

Despite these successes, we cannot fight fraud alone. We’re asking you to help spread the word about simple ways to prevent fraud and how SMP can help. Here are a few resources to make that easier:

Thank you for joining us — this Medicare Fraud Prevention week and all year — in our effort to prevent Medicare fraud.


#MFPW #MedicareFraudPreventionWeek

Have questions about Medicare?

The Council on Aging has volunteers who provide free Medicare counseling as part of Oregon’s Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) program. To learn more, visit our Medicare counseling webpage or contact our Help Desk at (541) 678-5483 to set up an appointment with a SHIBA counselor.

Check out the Council on Aging’s other blogs on healthcare and Medicare fraud:

How to Avoid Home Health Care Fraud

You can protect yourself from COVID-19 fraud — here’s how