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In October of 2014, the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will finally come into effect. As a result, many across America (including seniors) will have access to more affordable healthcare options. However, with these benefits come a variety of considerations and issues that the elderly must be aware of.
In fact the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) has developed a list of advice for helping elderly New Yorkers avoid health law fraud, and also provides tips for navigating all of the health law changes that will occur once Obamacare comes into effect.
The NYSOFA is an organization whose goal is to ensure the protection and equal treatment of the elderly in New York. The NYSOFA recommends that all elderly who use Medicare or Medicaid should become aware of their local communities Senior Medical Patrol programs, or SMPs. SMPs are designed to assist the beneficiaries of Medicaid and Medicare, so that they can detect, prevent and avoid healthcare fraud. The NYSOFA wants the elderly to be aware that they are often perceived as an easy target for healthcare fraud, and thus they must be outfitted with knowledge and protections so that their rights are upheld and protected.
The NYSOFA has three key points of advice to assist the elderly in avoiding health care fraud. First, they recommend that all New York citizens go through great measures to protect their personal information, including closely guarding Medicare and Medicaid membership information. Identity theft used to procure Medicare and Medicare benefits costs the federal government billions of dollars and prevents those who need medical treatment the most from receiving the help they deserve. NYSOFA advises people to never give out their Medicare, Medicaid or social security numbers, and to remember the Medicare representatives never call or make home visits to beneficiaries.
Second, the NYSOFA recommends that the elderly take the steps necessary to be able to quickly detect discrepancies and other signs of fraud in their Medicare accounts and medical bills. Tips for doing so include reviewing every Medicare statement received for discrepancies, and always closely reviewing medical billing statements, instead of just blindly accepting the charges.
Third, the NYSOFA recommends that you immediately report any discrepancies or health fraud that you become aware of. Proper reporting of such issues to your local SMP as soon as you become aware of them will allow the local SMP office, as well as other federal agencies, to swiftly take action in order to minimize any damage that could occur to the health care benefits that you are allotted.
Obamacare will undoubtedly have significant impact on the healthcare benefits afforded to the elderly in New York. The confusion regarding these changes may expose the elderly to health care fraud and other related issues. The NYSOFA is so committed to preventing health law fraud against elderly New Yorkers that they have made it their goal to assist the elderly in protecting their rights, so that frauds are not easily perpetuated.