How do I prevent Medicare fraud?

Medicare fraud is when providers mislead Medicare into paying for services it shouldn’t pay for or paying more than it should pay.

There are many ways you can prevent fraud:

Protect your Medicare number the same way you would protect your credit card number. Be careful about who you give your Medicare number to. Be especially wary of someone who promises to give you a free service in exchange for your Medicare number.
Know what Medicare covers and what Medicare does not cover. That way, you can question a provider who says you can get coverage for something Medicare doesn’t cover.
Only accept services you need. Some providers may try to talk you into getting tests or services you don’t need. Don’t let them.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If a provider says Medicare will pay for something that sounds too good to be true, such as a dance class, follow your instinct. Medicare probably won’t pay for it.
The key to preventing fraud is to be aware. The more you know about what Medicare does and does not cover, the less likely you’ll be to fall into a fraud trap. Click here for a list of services Medicare does not cover.

If you lose your card or someone steals it, check your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN). Make sure you received all the services on the MSN and someone else has not added additional services to it. Also, be sure to only give your Medicare number to health care providers.

If you spot fraud, you can report it to the Office of the Inspector General’s fraud hotline at 800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477).