Archive for the ‘Senior Finances’ Category

Quality of Life Seminar: Healthcare Fraud

Healthcare Fraud seminar at the Timbers of Shorewood retirement community. The Illinois Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) will present a free program titled “Healthcare Fraud” at 3 p.m. Wednesday, June 12, at The Timbers of Shorewood retirement community, 1100 N. River Rd., Shorewood. The public is invited.

Senior citizens are often targets of Medicare schemes for a variety of reasons, such as that they are most likely to have a nest egg, own their own home and/or have excellent credit. In addition, people who grew up in the 1930s – 1950s were generally raised to be polite and trusting, making it easier for con artists to persuade them.

Examples of health care fraud and waste include:

•    equipment or insurance plan providers tricking seniors into giving up personal information (including Medicare numbers) on “sign in” sheets
•    Medicare summary notices showing billing for services or supplies that were never received equipment supplies providing expensive “scooter” wheelchairs not ordered by a physician or needed by the beneficiary
•    luring beneficiaries into providing their Medicare numbers for “free” services only to later bill Medicare
•    kickbacks – paying beneficiaries to receive service from a particular provider or company

Statistics indicate that 10 cents of every dollar spent on health care goes toward paying for fraudulent health care claims. Older Americans are less likely to report a fraud because they don’t know who to report it to or are embarrassed by having been scammed. In addition, because it may take weeks or even months before a fraud is realized it is difficult to recall details making which makes for a weak case.

It is important people understand how to:

•    protect their identity
•    read their Medicare summary notices
•    avoid falling for scams

People should never sign blank insurance claim forms or give blanket authorization to a medical provider to bill for services rendered. Also people should never do business with door-to-door or telephone salespeople who offer free services or medical equipment. Records should be kept of all health care appointments and people should maintain awareness of any equipment ordered by a physician.

The SMP is an organization comprised of trained volunteers focused on educating consumers about health care fraud, waste and abuse. They strive to teach the public how to protect Medicare numbers, review Medicare statements to spot false charges, detect errors and report suspected fraud.

More than 30,000 active volunteers have educated nearly 27 million people since 1997 through one-on-one sessions and group seminars. To date, an estimated $106 million in savings is attributed to SMP’s efforts in healthcare fraud prevention.

The Timbers of Shorewood is a rental retirement community which provides independent and assisted living apartments and a full schedule of activities and services. Furnished apartments are also available for a short-term stay – a weekend, a week, a month or longer.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information or to reserve a seat, call Shelly Goggins at 815-609-0669.

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Veteran seniors in Joliet may qualify for additional aid

senior veterans aid assisted living, assisted living Shorewood, assisted living Joliet, assisted living Plainfield, assisted living Channahon, assisted living Crest Hill,There is a nationwide public relations campaign going on to raise awareness of a little known government pension available to wartime veterans or surviving spouses. Many people are eligible for this, but they aren’t collecting because they don’t know about it.

According to VeteranAid.org, if you are a senior age 65 or older and served in WW II, Korea, Vietnam or the Persian Gulf or if you are the surviving spouse of someone who served, you may be eligible for a pension called the Aid & Attendance Improved Pension. This pension can provide up to $1,632 per month to a veteran, $1,055 per month to a surviving spouse, or $1,949 per month to a couple.

To qualify medically, a person must need the assistance of another person to perform daily tasks such as eating, dressing, undressing, taking care of the needs of nature, etc. Also qualifying are people who are blind or in a nursing home for mental or physical incapacity, or residing in an assisted living facility.

To qualify financially, your countable family income must be below a yearly limit set by Congress.

For example, a claimant’s physician must declare the veteran as housebound and in need of assistance from another individual which may include services offered by assisted living. Also the veteran must have served at least 90 days Active Duty with one day of the 90 during a war period.

If you think you may qualify for Aid and Attendance Pension, contact your local or regional Veterans’ Administration. There are a number of papers to collect and fill out, but patience now may make a significant difference in you or your loved one’s quality of living.

To gather information, some helpful websites are http://www.veteranaid.org/ or http://www.vetassist.org. In addition, some law firms specialize in filing for the Aid and Attendance Improved Pension.

The Timbers of Shorewood will present an informational seminar at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30, 2009  at 1100 N. River Road Shorewood, IL. Robert Hart of the American Association for Wartime Veterans (AAWV) will present a free informational seminar about veterans’ benefits which may be available to qualifying veterans, widowed spouses or disabled adult children.

This seminar is free and open to the public. For more information, call Judy Malin at (815) 609-0669.

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