The current administration is working to reduce and eliminate fraud, abuse and waste in Medicare.
You can help by taking an active role in many ways.
Be suspicious of doctors, health-care providers or suppliers who tell you the following:
• The equipment is free; it won't cost you anything, they only need your Medicare number for their records.
• They know how to get Medicare to pay for the item or service.
• The more tests they provide, the cheaper the tests become.
Be suspicious of doctors or health plans that do the following:
• Don't charge co-payments without checking on your ability to pay.
• Advertise “free” consultations to people with Medicare.
• Maintain they have been endorsed by the federal government or by Medicare.
• Use pressure or scare tactics to sell you high-priced medical services or diagnostic tests.
• Bill Medicare for services you didn't get. • Tell you an item or service is not usually covered but they know how to bill Medicare to get it.
• Use telephone calls and door-to-door selling as marketing tools.
• Offer non-medical transportation or housekeeping as Medicare-approved services.
• Put the wrong diagnosis on the claim so Medicare will pay.
• Bill home-health services for patients who aren't confined to their homes or for Medicare patients who still drive a car.
• Bill Medicare for medical equipment for people in nursing homes.
• Ask you to contact your doctor and ask for a service or supply you don't need.
• Bill Medicare for tests you received as a hospital inpatient, the hospital will do this, or within 72 hours of admission or discharge.
• Bill Medicare for a power wheelchair or scooter when you don't meet Medicare's qualifications.

Susan M. Jackson is the Harvey County Extension agent, family and consumer sciences and community development.