The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency ended earlier this month, but the scams stemming from it will have a lasting impact on seniors and taxpayers.
In recent weeks, Medicare recipients have noticed at-home COVID tests were delivered to their home despite never ordering them.
“I think this is a massive scam going on,” said Pat Hanrahan of Cape Coral, who has had at least 16 at-home tests delivered.
Hanrahan checked his Medicare claims and found the tests, which cost $94.08 for a pack of four, were paid for by Medicare, but ordered by groups out-of-state.
“I’ve received them from four different companies. Seven different companies have filed claims and been paid by Medicare for them,” Hanrahan said.
While he never ordered them, he is paying for them — all taxpayers are.
There are 65 million Medicare customers nationwide. All of them were eligible to receive free, at-home COVID tests if they or their medical provider ordered them.
In February, the Officer of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services sent out a fraud alert urging consumers to report these kinds of COVID-related scams.
“These scammers take advantage of COVID-19 related needs and services to benefit themselves, putting beneficiaries at risk of potential harm,” the alert said.
Even more suspicious, Hanrahan noticed the tests started coming in recent weeks, right before the public health emergency, which paid for at-home tests, ended.
“All of these claims have been filed since April 28. So, the companies who are doing this said ‘whoops, the golden goose is leaving town.’ So, they did what they needed to do to get the orders into Medicare, get the claims filed and ship these claims out,” Hanrahan said.
Medicare claims they have tried to fight this kind of fraud by limiting the number of tests that can be sent out; however, no one can say for sure how much money fraudsters have ripped off Medicare.