Why does Medicare keep calling?

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The Missouri SMP receives several complaints a week just like this one:

“I just received a call today from the Medicare Diabetic Supply Company (an 800 number that was blocked out on caller ID), asking about my diabetes supplies.  (I don’t have diabetes nor does anyone else in my household.)  She asked if I had a red, white, and blue Medicare card.  I said yes, and she said she would have someone call me to arrange delivery of free supplies.  This is a waste of our tax dollars.  I asked for the phone number of the company and she declined but said someone would call me.”

Sometimes the reports vary slightly, and the name of the company has been changed, but the story remains the same – telemarketers are calling seniors, representing themselves as Medicare and trying to get personal information such as Medicare numbers and bank account information by offering unnecessary medical supplies.

In order to keep your information safe and be able to access the services and supplies you need, keep in mind the following:

  • Suppliers are prohibited from making unsolicited phone calls, emails, and personal visits to Medicare beneficiaries unless:
    • The beneficiary has given written permission.
    • The supplier has furnished an item to the beneficiary.
  • If you make a call to order supplies or ask about a service, it is ok to give your account information – you placed the call.  However, if the call was made to you, do not provide your information.  Medicare, your bank, your insurance company, and your medical providers have your information and are not allowed to call you and ask for it.
  • It is best to get a prescription from your doctor before receiving any medical supplies or services and to only receive services ordered by your doctor.

If you feel that you have given your information in error or if you have additional questions, please call the Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) toll-free at 1-888-515-6565.  SMP Volunteers have been trained and are available to assist you with questions and concerns regarding Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse at no cost to you.

This website was supported in part by a grant No. 90-SP-0025 from the Administration on Aging (AoA), Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Grantees carrying out projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Therefore, points of view or opinions do not necessarily represent official AoA, ACL, or DHHS policy.