Medicare

Kentucky AG's Office Warns of Medicare ID Card Scam

May 25, 2018
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The office of the Kentucky Attorney General is warning senior citizens to be on the lookout for scams related to new Medicare I.D. cards.

One reader suspects a double standard — how come people with private health insurance are allowed to use a manufacturer's discount coupon for medicine, but Medicare patients can't? Another consumer wonders what ever happened to cost-free primary care appointments. We have answers to these health care questions that may have been worrying or frustrating you, too:

A few months ago, I wrote a check for $12,000 but couldn't figure out exactly why.

The payment was to secure a place for my mother at Sligo Creek Center, in Takoma Park, Md. It's a nursing home and rehab center owned by Genesis Healthcare.

My mother was about to be discharged from Holy Cross Hospital, in nearby Silver Spring, after a fall. Medicare wouldn't pay for her rehabilitation care.

The woman arrived at the emergency department gasping for air, her severe emphysema causing such shortness of breath that the physician who examined her immediately put her on a ventilator to help her breathe.

The patient lived across the street from that suburban Denver ER. The facility wasn't physically located at a hospital, says Dr. David Friedenson, the physician who took care of her that day. But it was affiliated with a hospital several miles away — North Suburban Medical Center.

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A London, Kentucky physician faces up to a decade in prison after being convicted of health care fraud.

Physical therapy helps Leon Beers get out of bed in the morning and maneuver around his home using his walker. Other treatment strengthens the 73-year-old man's throat muscles so that he can swallow food more easily, says Beers' sister, Karen Morse. But in mid-January, his home health care agency told Morse it could no longer provide these services because he had used all his therapy benefits allowed under Medicare for the year.

Colin Campbell needs help dressing, bathing and moving between his bed and his wheelchair. He has a feeding tube because his partially paralyzed tongue makes swallowing "almost impossible," he says.

Campbell, 58, spends $4,000 a month on home health care services so he can continue to live in his home just outside Los Angeles. Eight years ago, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, which relentlessly attacks the nerve cells in his brain and spinal cord and has no cure.

As the federal government penalizes 751 hospitals for having too many infections and patient injuries, some states are feeling the cuts in Medicare payments more than others.

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  The Purchase Area Development District is providing free reviews in November at Senior Centers in the region for Medicare Part D enrollees.

Medicare.gov via Twitter

In April 2018, Medicare officials will begin sending out new health insurance cards that no longer include enrollees’ social security numbers.

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