If You Get This Call From Your Health Insurance, Report It Immediately
Experts warn this could result in you getting billed for thousands of dollars.
Dealing with your health insurance provider and medical bills can be confusing, complicated, and costly. So there are probably few phone calls you dread like those with your health insurance company. But now, there's a whole new headache a call with your insurance provider can cause. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning that if you get a call about one thing in particular from your health insurance provider, it could be a scam. Read on to find out what you should be on the lookout for.
Scammers are impersonating Medicare and claiming to provide free genetic tests.
The BBB just released a warning about a scam targeting people on Medicare. According to the warning, which was posted on June 11, scammers are calling victims claiming to be someone from Medicare who's providing free genetic testing kits. The scammers claim that the test will be completely covered by Medicare and all you would have to do is agree to receive a kit in the mail, swab your cheek, and return the vial to find out if you have a genetic predisposition to heart disease, cancer, or another concerning medical condition.
If you agree, the scammers will tell you they need your Medicare ID number and a lot of other personal information. "Targets of this scam report being asked extensive questions about their health, such as their family medical history and previous diagnoses," the BBB explains.
You should be wary if you're asked for your Medicare ID number.
If you're asked for your Medicare ID number, that's a clear indication that something is not right. The BBB says you should "be suspicious of anyone claiming that genetic tests and cancer screenings are 'free' or 'covered by Medicare.'" A product or test that is truly free will not require you to provide your Medicare ID number, according to the agency.
"Do not share your Medicare number. If anyone other than your physician's office requests your Medicare information, do not provide it," the BBB warns. "Medicare will never call you to confirm your personal information, your Medicare number, or ask questions about your personal health."
If you think you have been affected by this insurance scam, report it.
Of course, genetic testing is a legitimate service, as the BBB notes—and some victims of this scam do actually receive a genetic testing kit. However, what the scammers are trying to do is commit fraud by obtaining your Medicare information and billing Medicare for the unnecessary tests. "For the victims, these cons can lead to medical identity theft and, in some instances, a bill for thousands of dollars," the BBB says.
If you think you have been a victim of Medicare fraud, you need to report it. There is a form on the Medicare website to do so, or you can call 1-800-633-4227.
Experts say there are also several variations of this insurance scam.
Not every scammer follows the same routine, however. According to the BBB, other versions of this Medicare insurance scam have seen people going door-to-door or setting up tables at health fairs about "free genetic testing" for Medicare members. "Be wary of any lab tests at senior centers, health fairs, or in your home," the BBB says. The agency adds that some scammers may even provide gift cards or other giveaways to try to get you to participate.