DNA testing has become very popular for helping to determine your ancestry. They also can be used to identify your genetic risk of certain diseases. Scammers, however are taking advantage of people’s interest in these tests that are done for medical purposes to attempt to scam Medicare. In my Scam of the day for June 27, 2019 I told you about the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida issuing a warning about these DNA genetic tests. Senior citizens have been approached at health fairs and asked if they were willing to participate in a free health screening. A cheek swab was done to collect DNA and the scam victims were told that the DNA would be sent to a lab for genetic testing. They were also told that there would be no cost to them and that Medicare would pay for the test. In some instances being reported, people aren’t getting the results of the tests, if they were even done, however Medicare was billed as much as $30,000 for the tests. This is a scam because Medicare does not pay for medical tests or equipment unless it is medically necessary and a doctor orders the test. Cologuard a colorectal cancer screening test available only with a doctor’s prescription is the only genetic test covered by Medicare.
Now, through the joint efforts of the FBI, department of Justice and the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services more than thirty people were arrested for involvement in this scam. The joint operation has been named Operation Double Helix and it is targeting a wide variety of scammers perpetrating this scam.
Never provide your Medicare number to anyone asking for your number in return for “free” equipment or services. It is always a scam. Also, if you are a Medicare recipient, switch immediately to your new randomly selected Medicare ID number rather than use your old card which has your Social Security number as your identification number. Always check your Medicare and private insurance bills, sometimes called Explanation of Benefits to make sure that you are not being charged for services that you did not receive.
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