The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is alerting the public about a Medicare fraud scheme involving genetic testing.
Genetic testing fraud occurs when Medicare is billed for a test or screening that was not medically necessary and/or was not ordered by a Medicare beneficiary’s doctor.
Scammers are offering Medicare beneficiaries “free” screenings or cheek swabs for genetic testing to obtain their Medicare information for identity theft or fraudulent billing purposes. Fraudsters are targeting beneficiaries through telemarketing calls, booths at public events, health fairs, and door-to-door visits.
Beneficiaries who agree to genetic testing or verify personal or Medicare information may receive a cheek swab, an in-person screening or a testing kit in the mail, even if it is not ordered by a physician or medically necessary.
If Medicare denies the claim, the beneficiary would be responsible for the entire cost of the test, which could be thousands of dollars.
The Ulster County District Attorney’s Division of Consumer Affairs advises:
- If a genetic testing kit is mailed to you, don’t accept it unless it was ordered by your doctor.
- Be suspicious of anyone who offers you “free” genetic testing and then requests your Medicare number.
- A physician that you know and trust should assess your condition and approve any requests for genetic testing.
- Medicare beneficiaries should be cautious of unsolicited requests for their Medicare number.
- If you suspect Medicare fraud, contact the HHS OIG Hotline at 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477).
This advisory is not directed at Ancestry/Genetic testing services, such as Ancestry.com or 23 and Me.
Consumer Affairs can be reached at 845-340-3260.