You’ve probably heard your friends and neighbors tales of Medicare fraud: scam artists asking for your Medicare card, providers charging for procedures you never had, or charging Medicare patients higher rates.
Thankfully, in Indiana, there are senior citizens on patrol.
This isn’t your typical neighborhood crime watch. Instead, it’s a statewide network of volunteers charged with helping you avoid Medicare fraud and abuse. They are called the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP), and they want to save you from Medicare and Medicaid scams.
Nationwide, it’s estimated that Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse costs taxpayers $60 billion a year, so the work SMP is doing not only helps seniors, but also taxpayers who eventually shoulder the burden of these expenses.
SMP staff and their highly trained volunteers conduct outreach to Medicare beneficiaries, caregivers and the professionals that serve them in their communities through group presentations, exhibiting at community events, answering calls to the SMP help lines and one-on-one counseling. Most SMP volunteers are retired Medicare beneficiaries and thus well-positioned to assist their peers.
Their primary goal is to teach beneficiaries how to protect their personal identity, identify and report errors in health care bills, and spot deceptive health care practices.
If you suspect that you are a victim of fraud, reach out to your local Area Agency on Aging by calling 800.986.3505. The SMP volunteers in your area will help you take action to prevent, detect or report Medicare fraud and abuse.
Additionally, the Senior Medicare Patrol is always looking for more volunteers. You can join the Patrol by calling the SMP office at 317.205.9201.