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MDHHS provides tips for beneficiaries to protect themselves during Medicare Fraud Prevention Week, June 3-9

Lansing, Mich.  – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is participating in Medicare Fraud Prevention Week in support of nation-wide efforts to combat Medicare fraud, errors and abuse.

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities and people with end-stage renal disease. While MDHHS does not oversee Medicare insurance for Michiganders, it is important to share resources that prevent fraud and protect residents.

Fraud impacts Medicare beneficiaries in time, stress and health issues. It also costs families, friends and caregivers in worry and lost work when helping their loved ones recover from Medicare fraud. This awareness event is observed each year during the week of June 5, also referred to as 6/5, because most people become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65.

“Medicare fraud has a devastating impact on both beneficiaries and the Medicare program,” said Elizabeth Hertel, director. “Through education and outreach, we can work together to prevent Medicare fraud against seniors.”

To combat Medicare fraud in Michigan, MDHHS works with the Michigan Medicare Assistance Program (MMAP) Inc., which manages the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) program. The SMP is a free resource designed to help Medicare beneficiaries, their families and caregivers prevent, detect and report Medicare fraud.

“We teach people how to protect themselves from Medicare fraud. By preventing fraud from happening, this program helps individuals and preserves the Medicare program for generations to come,” said Jennifer Page, Executive Director of MMAP, Inc.

Everyone plays a part in the fight against fraud. Take these steps during Medicare Fraud Prevention Week and beyond:

  • Medicare beneficiaries can monitor their insurance statements to make sure products and services received match what is on the statements. They can request free My Health Care Trackers from their local SMP.
  • Caregivers can help by being on the lookout for items such as durable medical equipment (like boxes of knee braces) lying around the house that may have been shipped to the beneficiary without their or their doctor’s approval. They can remind their client or loved one to never give out their Medicare number or other personal information over the phone to prevent unauthorized purchases.
  • Families can help by talking to their loved ones about protecting their Medicare number just as they would a credit card number. Help loved ones create a account to access Medicare statements online or remind them to open and review statements when they come in the mail. Beneficiaries can also register their phone number on “do not call” lists and visit to to opt out of mailings.
  • Partners and professionals can help by sharing SMP information on social media, referring clients and consumers to the SMP and inviting the SMP to speak during a shared event.
  • Health care providers can help by talking to patients about health care scams such as those related to durable medical equipment and genetic testing schemes. Remind patients that products and services should only be ordered by physicians they regularly see. Needed medical items should never be ordered through TV ads or unsolicited calls.
  • Community members can help by looking out for older neighbors. When in public, be aware of older individuals purchasing gift cards in large amounts. Encourage older adults to talk to a trusted source about Medicare questions and tell neighbors about the most recent Medicare scams. Community members can also volunteer with a local SMP.

Learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones by joining SMP and their partners. Learn more about Medicare Fraud Prevention Week at




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