Fraudsters are already taking advantage of the current Cornonavirus epidemic.
Think of it like this: would you give a stranger your keys? To a scammer your bank account information, social security number, address, medicare number are just a few examples of the keys they need.
Caryn Long, Regional Representative for the Nebraska Senior Health Insurance Information Program offers some tips to avoid these scams, starting with not clicking on links from sources you don’t know.
1. For the most up to date information about the coronavirus visit the centers for disease control and prevention (www.cdc.gov/coronavirus
2. And the world health organization www.who.int/emergencies
3. Ignore online offers for vaccinations. there are currently no FDA approved vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over the counter products available to treat or cure coronavirus disease 2019. Using these products may lead to delays in getting proper diagnosis and treatment.
4. Do your homework when it comes to donations or crowdfunding sites. don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donation in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.
* Telephone: Hang up. Don’t give them any information at all.
* Medicare: Will help, but will never call you on the phone or contact you via email unless you call them first and ask for assistance.
Medicare covers related needs…
* Medicare covers the lab tests for COVID-19. You pay no out-of-pocket costs .
* Medicare covers all medically necessary hospitalizations.
This includes if you’re diagnosed with COVID-19 and might otherwise have been discharged from the hospital after an inpatient stay, but instead you need to stay in the hospital under quarantine.
* At this time, there is no vaccine for COVID-19. However, if one becomes available, it will be covered by all Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D).
* If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you have access to these same benefits. Medicare allows these plans to waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 lab tests. Many plans offer additional telehealth benefits beyond the ones described.
Check with your plan about your coverage and costs.
Long says you should never give out personal information to a stranger, but if you do, they can assist reporting to the office of inspector general and medicare.
Their number locally in Scottsbluff is 308-765-5546 and toll free 1-800-234-7119.