October 7, 2019
The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period
Is a Scammer's Favorite Time of Year
With the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) beginning in just a week, scammers are gearing up to prey on unsuspecting Medicare beneficiaries. Here are the facts about the upcoming AEP.

For 2020 coverage, Annual Enrollment will run from October 15, 2019 through December 7, 2019. During the Annual Enrollment Period, you can make changes to various aspects of your Part D or Medicare Advantage coverage.

The Illinois SMP would like to help protect beneficiaries from falling for AEP scams!

  • There are no Medicare sales representatives. If someone contacts you suggesting they are from Medicare, it is a scam call.
  • Enrolling in a Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage Plan is voluntary. If someone suggests it is mandatory, that is false.
  • Do not give out any information over the phone to someone you do not know.

You can read more tips about the Annual Enrollment Period here.

It is very important to compare the plans offered during the AEP. SHIP counselors are an unbiased third party, who can help you by putting you in a plan that works for you! If you need help during annual enrollment and live in Illinois you can find your local SHIP counselor here or call (800)252-8966.
Federal Law Enforcement Charges 35 People with $2.1 Billion in Genetic Testing Fraud
September 27, 2019 was a huge day in the fight against Medicare fraud. The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) sent out a press release indicating that they have charged 35 individuals across the United States with Medicare fraud. This indictment is one of the largest amounts in Medicare history.

According to the DOJ press release, the “alleged scheme involve[ed] the payment of illegal kickbacks and bribes by [cancer genetic testing laboratories] in exchange for the referral of Medicare beneficiaries by medical professionals working with fraudulent telemedicine companies for expensive cancer genetic tests that were medically unnecessary."

The individuals allegedly charged over $2.1 Billion in genetic cancer screenings to Medicare. Nine Doctors were among the 35 individuals charged as well. You can read the whole article from the U.S. Department of Justice here.

If you've received genetic testing paid for by Medicare at a fair or presentation or notice something suspicious on your MSN, please contact the Illinois Senior Medicare Patrol at AgeOptions at (800)699-9043.
Have a wonderful week!

Travis Trumitch
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This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MPPG0036, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.
The Illinois SMP at AgeOptions partners with agencies across the state to empower and assist Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers to prevent, detect, and report health care fraud, errors, and abuse through outreach, counseling, and education.

Please share this Fraud Alert with colleagues, consumers, or other professionals in your area and visit our website to sign up for our Fraud Alert email list.