Congratulations! You now have Medicare! Here come the scams!

Overpriced back braces and knee braces.

$800 arthritis creams which are no better than placebo.

Marginal Quality Medicare Advantage HMO’s with tiny doctor networks.
Poor quality diabetic testing supplies.
Expensive Diabetic Shoes.

Junk mail. Phone calls.  Emails. Text messages. Even door-to-door salespeople!

Once you hit Medicare, you become a target for marketing.Much of this nonsense eventually comes back to hit the doctor.  Signatures are required for those bogus braces, shoes, devices and arthritis creams.  These companies are trying to rope your doctor into the scam. Astute medical offices learn to recognize the paperwork.  Usually, there is only a fax number. The address is absent or a P.O. Box in Florida or Arizona. No voice phone number is listed.

For those patients who erroneously sign up for a bad Medicare Advantage HMO, the surprise comes when they show their new HMO insurance card.  The front desk must deliver the bad news: “We don’t participate with your new plan. You should have checked. We can’t see you. Yes, I know we’ve seen you for the past ten years.  I’m sorry. We’ll forward your records to your new HMO participating doctor.”Ugliness at the front desk ensues.
Often, patients have no idea they no longer possess traditional Medicare and will present only their regular Medicare card.  (Front desk people need to be persistent!)

It’s a jungle out there!

Steven Mussey MD

Steven Mussey, M.D. is a physician in Internal Medicine, practicing in the Fredericksburg area for more than twenty years. He grew up in Springfield, Virginia and earned a degree in Physics from The University of Virginia, Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his medical degree at The George Washington University and was inducted into the medical honor society AOA. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine. He served in the Air Force for four years before entering into private practice. He particularly enjoys geriatric medical care and working with complex patients. For almost a quarter century, he has been practicing with one other Internist. Both doctors enjoy practice in a small, but busy office, and plan on working into their 70s, as long as they can still find their way to the office. Dr. Mussey is also an avid cartoonist and has a weekly cartoon in the local newspaper. He also enjoys cartoon animation and has had several public service cartoons playing regularly on the television cable systems.

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5 Responses

  1. Mamadoc says:

    The Medicare Advantage scenario you describe happens in our office every January. And most of them still think they have Medicare. The bogus faxes are also a regular occurrence. I did call one of those phone numbers and told them to quit faxing the office that I had called the insurance company and reported it as fraud (I really did, not sure they were that interested though). They hung up quick and we didn’t get any more from that one….

  2. arthur gindn says:

    all sounds familiar (I’m 85)

  3. stuart says:

    Simplest thing is not to participate in ANY Medicare Advantage plans.

    The patient pays at the time of service and we submit claim for them to be reimbursed.

    Or, they walk.

  4. Pat says:

    Medicare IS a scam. No wonder that it inspired a scam industry.

  5. Dave Mittman says:

    I get more paper for all kinds of things and it cost more money than it did before PERSONALLY for Medicare than it did when I worked. Thousands more. I took the United Health Care AARP supplement also.
    It’s hard to retire.

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