Friday, May 15, 2015
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In This Issue
Fraud in the News
The following are current news articles about health care and fraud issues.


Consumer Fraud:

1. "Your Top 5 Questions About Unwanted Calls and the National Do Not Call Registry" (FTC)


2. "Get Into the Act and Pass It On" (FTC)


3. "Can Your App Really Do That?" (FTC)


4. "A Friendly Reminder" (FTC)


5. "Consumer Advisory: Your Benefits Are Protected From Garnishment" (CFPB)

Please share this Fraud Alert with colleagues, consumers, or other professionals in your area. If you have any questions about the Illinois SMP program, or to receive these Fraud Alerts directly, please contact Jason Echols, Healthcare Consumer Protection Coordinator at AgeOptions.


This document was supported in part by a grant (No. 90MP0163 & 90SP0061) from the Administration on Aging (AoA), Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Grantees carrying out projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Therefore, points of view or opinions do not necessarily represent official AoA, ACL, or DHHS policy. 


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Dear SMP Readers, 


This week's Fraud Alert features health care fraud prevention highlights from the federal "Doc Fix" bill and tips to prevent, report, and recover from identity theft.


Have a great weekend!

New Medicare "Doc Fix" Bill Addresses Health Care Fraud

Congress recently passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, more commonly referred to as the "Doc Fix" bill. This legislation changes the way that Medicare payments to doctors are calculated; it also includes several additional provisions. AgeOptions sent a letter to editors of newpapers across Illinois to highlight the provisions in this new legislation that address health care fraud.

The new law directs the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) within the next four years to establish a new Medicare card that does not include a social security number. Currently, an individual's Medicare number is a social security number, either your own or the person you are receiving benefits under (e.g. a spouse or guardian), and this makes it easier for identity thieves to steal your social security number (see the article below about identity theft).

The "Doc Fix" bill also mentions the national SMP program and our efforts to educate the public about health care fraud. 

As the leader of the SMP program for Illinois, AgeOptions applauds these provisions. We look forward to providing additional information as it becomes available.
FTC Launches New Website to Help Report and Recover from Identity Theft

This week the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched, a new website for people who have had their identities stolen. This new site walks visitors through the steps that should be taken to report identity theft and recover from the potential risks that follow identity theft, including sample letters to credit reporting agencies, credit cards, and debt collectors. 

The impact of identity theft can be devastating to an individual's well-being, both financially and emotionally. This new website is a great resource if you believe your identity has been stolen, but take precautions to avoid becoming an identity theft target by following these SMP tips: 
  • Know that identity thieves are after your personal information, which includes your Medicare number, social security number, credit card number, bank account information, etc. Guard this information.
  • Never give your personal information (see above) to anyone who calls you unsolicited. 
  • Do not carry your Medicare card or social security card in your wallet. Medicare cards currently have a social security number on them, usually your own, and this is the key for identity theft. 
    • You do not need your Medicare card for emergency room care. If you have a medical emergency, hospitals are required by law to treat you first regardless of your ability to pay. The hospital will bill you later and at that time, you can give them your Medicare or other insurance information.
Read more about the FTC's new website in this press release (click here). For a Spanish version of the site, visit

AgeOptions Ideogram


Jason B. Echols, MSW,
Health Care Consumer Protection Coordinator
1048 Lake Street, Suite 300
Oak Park, IL 60301
phone (708)383-0258 fax (708)524-0870


AgeOptions, the Area Agency on Aging of Suburban Cook County, is committed to improving the quality of life and maintaining the dignity of older adults and those who care about them - through leadership and support, community partnerships, comprehensive services, accurate information and powerful advocacy.

Fraud Alerts contain information about current scams taking place in Illinois, announcements and updates about programs or services related to health care and/or fraud protection, and links to news articles about health care and fraud topics. Please forward any recommendations or announcements that you would like to be included in a future Fraud Alert to