Join NHCOA’s efforts to educate Hispanic older adults and caregivers on how to detect, prevent, and report Medicaid fraud
The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) — the leading national organization working to improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families and their caregivers — is working to raise awareness and empower Hispanics to detect, protect, and report any sign of scam or fraud.
Generally, seniors are more likely to be victims of fraud than any other age group. From phony lotteries to email schemes, fraud against seniors can take many forms and may result in identity theft, false records, and medical errors. Scammers often take advantage of the fact that many older adults depend on Medicare for their health care needs. Hispanic elders, who are burdened by linguistic and cultural barriers, are particularly at risk.
Undoubtedly, Medicare fraud is one of the biggest scams targeting older adults in the U.S. today, and when our abuelitos are scammed, they are not the only victims. Everyone is affected by the Medicare fraud perpetrated by a few because the stolen money is collected from taxpayer dollars. As a result, each year billions of taxpayer dollars are lost to Medicare fraud.
With the support from the Administration on Aging (AoA), NHCOA is working to protect our Hispanic older adults through the National Hispanic Senior Medicare Patrol (NHSMP) initiative, an offshoot of the federal government’s anti-Medicare fraud program.
As Hispanics grow to be the largest diverse aging group, the NHSMP program is recruiting and training Hispanic older adults, their families and their caregivers to learn about Medicare fraud and spread the word in the community to empower others to prevent, detect, and report Medicare fraud.
Several clients at Abriendo Puertas, one of NHCOA’s local partners that aids low-income residents in Miami, FL, have had experiences with fraud. “I went to apply for public assistance at a service center, and they used my information to enroll me in a Medicare plan without my consent,” said Fransisco Ferrer, an Abriendo Puertas client. “Because of this, I ran out of health services for three months. Thanks to the Medicare fraud prevention information that I received from Abriendo Puertas, I was able to resolve the issue and regain my tranquility. The National Hispanic SMP services are appropriate for my needs.”
In order to detect, prevent, and report fraud, it is important to be aware of its common signs. You or your loved one has been a victim of Medicare fraud when:
- You are charged for services that have been previously billed, or for services, screenings or medical equipment that were not received.
- You receive products and services you do not need.
- Someone has stolen your Medicare number.
Each scenario represents an act of abuse being committed against our seniors that compromises their wellbeing. These acts also lead to the theft of Medicare dollars, which subsequently hurts the taxpayer.
To report Medicare fraud and join the National Hispanic SMP program, call NHCOA’s toll-free hotline, 1-866-488-7379. Also visit www.nhcoa.org/Medicare/ for more information and additional resources. Remember that Medicare fraud prevention is a collaborative effort since it is a problem that affects us all, not just our seniors.