Fraud Alert: Info on Part D Rebate

The Center for Medicare/Medicaid Services, HHS and the Administration on Aging have sent a press release to provide information and increase awareness for the nation’s seniors.

The following is directly from the press release:

“The more we can work together to educate the American people about ways to protect themselves and the health care system from fraud and scams, the better chance we have to protect taxpayer dollars and the Medicare Trust Funds,” said Secretary Sebelius.

“In addition to this outreach and education media campaign, we are working with organizations across the country to ensure seniors know where to turn to get information about the new law and their Medicare benefits.”

“Since early April, we have learned of seniors across the country who are being asked for personal information to help them get a rebate check,” said CMS Acting Administrator Marilynn Tavenner. “Beneficiaries who reach the donut hole will get a check mailed to the same address Medicare uses to send them information now without doing anything special.”

Seniors should be on the look-out for scams where people they don’t know ask them for their personal information in order to get their checks.

This is not how the process will work.

Checks will come directly to beneficiaries who qualify for this benefit under the Affordable Care Act. Seniors or family members should contact us at 1-800-MEDICARE to report any of these types of calls or go to www.stopmedicarefraud.gov to learn more about efforts to fight scams like these.

The first $250 checks are being mailed June 10 to those Medicare beneficiaries who entered the Medicare Part D donut hole, also known as the coverage gap, in the first quarter of 2010 and are not eligible for Medicare Extra Help (also known as the low-income subsidy or LIS).

The donut hole is the period in the prescription drug benefit in which the beneficiary pays 100 percent of the cost of their drugs until they hit the catastrophic coverage. People in the Extra Help program already have assistance with the cost of prescription drugs. Beneficiaries should contact the Social Security Administration at www.ssa.gov for information about Extra Help.

“Empowering consumers to prevent fraud is essential in preserving the integrity of the Medicare and Medicaid programs,” said Assistant Secretary Kathy Greenlee. “This joint education and outreach campaign will not only protect seniors from fraud and scams but will help protect the Medicare trust fund as well.”

Fight Elder Abuse

Elder abuse either in the form of exploitation; neglect; physical, sexual or emotional harm or abandonment by trusted caregivers can happen to any elder including your own loved one.

Most believe one in ten seniors is affected but due to limited reporting of abuse, which is thought to be only one in five cases, no one is sure exactly how widespread the problem is.

Risk factors include dementia, substance abuse by both victims and caregivers and isolation. More women are affected than men at this time.

The fifth annual World Elder Abuse Awareness day is June 15, 2010.

Agencies across the nation will be scheduling events to make more people aware of signs to look for, ways to report suspected abuse and what to do to prevent abuse.

Movie theaters across the nation will show a trailer called the NCEA Elder Abuse Piece which highlights elder abuse.

According to the National Center for Elder Abuse (NCEA), abuse warning signs include:

  • Physical Abuse ‐ Slap marks, unexplained bruises, most pressure marks, and certain types of burns or blisters, such as cigarette burns
  • Neglect Pressure ulcers, filth, lack of medical care, malnutrition or dehydration
  • Emotional Abuse Withdrawal from normal activities, unexplained changes in alertness, or other unusual behavioral changes
  • Sexual Abuse Bruises around the breasts or genital area and unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
  • Financial Abuse/Exploitation Sudden change in finances and accounts, altered wills and trusts, unusual bank withdrawals, checks written as “loans” or “gifts,” and loss of property

For more information, visit  www.ncea.aoa.gov

Have you seen abuse? Do you suspect someone you know has been abused?

Take action now and learn more.