Health Care Scams and Frauds

You’d think that when you got to be older that things would settle into an easy and pleasant routine. Instead, seniors are subject to more scams than ever, including health care cons.

Whatever happened to the time when seniors were revered and held in great esteem? When they were the history and our legends, and stood for progress? When they fought for us to make this nation great and free and lived to tell those battle stories? What happened in the 21st century is recession, lives lived longer than ever, escalating health care costs, and a total confusion about what Medicare and Medicare supplements offer. What happened are insurance companies ripping off unsuspecting seniors because they can.

Why prey on seniors? The answer to that is easy. Preying on seniors is like shooting fish in a barrel. They’re there, they have no place to go and sometimes no family support, usually have money saved up for a small nest egg and aren’t technologically savvy or that aware of what goes on around them, especially if they have cognitive difficulties.

Seniors have become “easy” targets for scammers and schemers and insurance companies who would rather rip them off than make sure they have what they need in terms of proper health insurance. Unfortunately, it is incredibly easy to take advantage of some seniors. Consider this; ALL seniors are on Medicare of some sort, but asking them how their policy works usually draws a blank stare.

Start asking them questions about whether or not there is a deductible for parts A through D and they don’t know if they pay one or not. Is there anything better in terms of a Medicare Supplement plan other than alphabet letters A through L? Again, many elderly people don’t know the answer. Ask if their Medicare Advantage plans (soon to be extinct) cost more by way of co-pays and deductibles than it really saves on their premiums, and once again, they are not sure.

Most seniors are aware of the news about health care reform and their major concern is whether or not their plans will be taken away and how to keep paying for them if the price goes up. That is the focus of America’s seniors – will they lose their plans, what will replace them and how much will it cost. It’s not much of a wonder why a senior on a limited budget would jump at the chance to save money on health insurance if it were offered to them. It would be easy for someone to say, “You can save a lot of money with my plan.”

The point to be made is that there is a great deal of confusion over the existing Medicare system, over what will happen to it and about what will replace it or improve it, or not. Unfortunately there are scam artists lurking out there, dressed in insurance broker clothing, who are more interested in making money from uninformed and confused seniors. For example, there have been cases where seniors had Medicare Supplement plans and were enrolled in the Advantage plan, which is illegal.

There are also cases of elderly people being invoiced twice for the same co-pay amount and paying it because they thought they should. Was the double billing unintentional or not? It could have been double billed on purpose, as Medicare fraud is at an all time high.

Are there solutions to situations like this or are the system and the people in it doomed to be ripped off? With more attention to education about health care and health insurance and looking out for one another, there is hope. Our finances are personal and need to be protected. People need to get wise and get articulate about their health insurance. Knowledge is indeed power.

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