Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are the private insurance alternative to Original Medicare. To get people to join, MA advertisements sometimes use celebrities to lead consumers to believe they represent the federal government. A new rule from Medicare prohibits ads that mislead individuals. Use of the Medicare name is limited and images of the Medicare card in marketing materials or ads are prohibited. The regulation also makes it clear that an advertisement for MA must specify the name of the plan it is trying to get older adults to join. There are also provisions about brokers, insurance agents, and others who market MA plans. Click here to read more.
Medicare cracks down on misleading marketing schemes
Monthly Health Observance
American Diabetes Month
Medicare’s Preventive & Screening services offers diabetes screening.
For more information, visit: preventive services (medicare.gov)
or call MAP at 1-800-307-4444
Medicare Flex Card Scams
Some Medicare Advantage (not Original Medicare) plans offer prepaid debit cards, also known as flex cards, to eligible members to cover some health-related expenses, which may include groceries. Some advertisements claim that Medicare is giving out flex cards containing several hundred dollars to apply toward food and other items. The scam directs people to a website, where they’re asked to provide personal information that can be stolen, such as a Social Security number, credit card number, or bank account information.
Read the article from AARP here: How You Can Spot a Medicare Flex Card Scam (aarp.org)
Feds announce action in COVID-19 fraud
The Department of Justice announced criminal charges against 18 defendants in nine federal districts across the United States for their alleged participation in various fraud schemes involving health care services that exploited the COVID-19 pandemic and allegedly resulted in over $490 million in COVID-19-related false billings to federal programs and theft from federally funded pandemic programs. The department seized over $16 million in cash and other fraud proceeds. The Center for Program Integrity of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CPI/CMS) separately announced that it took adverse administrative actions in the last year against 28 medical providers for their alleged involvement in COVID-19 schemes.
The announcement also includes first-of-their-kind charges against suppliers of COVID-19 over-the-counter tests. A doctor and a marketer were charged for allegedly unlawfully purchasing Medicare beneficiary identification numbers and shipping over-the-counter tests to beneficiaries throughout the country who did not request the tests, causing over $8.4 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare. Click here to read more.
Have you received unwanted COVID tests or incorrect bills? Call MAP at 1-800-307-4444