Medicare fraud investigations returned a record total of more than $2.5 billion to the Medicare program last year.

Medicare fraud investigations returned a record total of more than $2.5 billion to the Medicare program last year. The recovery comes from settlements and court judgments surrounding health care fraud, and reflects both the continuing array of efforts to swindle the Medicare program, and a stepped-up effort by law enforcement.

Medicare overcharges included invoices submitted by doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical and device manufacturers. Medicare crooks should beware, too. There may be even more convictions next year. According to a recent report on CNN, authorities opened more than 1,100 new fraud probes last year, involving more than 2,000 potential defendants. That’s in addition to more than 1,700 pending criminal investigations.

Medicare fraud costs everyone – from beneficiaries to taxpayers. If you want to help stop fraud and hold down costs, Medicare.gov offers these tips:

                Review your Medicare Summary Notice when you receive it, and make sure you understand all of the items listed.

                Ask questions if there are charges you do not understand.

                If you suspect Medicare fraud, call or write the Medicare company that paid the clam. Their name, address and telephone number are the Medicare Summary Notice.

                The Office of the Inspector General also maintains a hotline, which offers a confidential means for reporting vital information. The Hotline can be contacted by phone: 1-800-447-8477; or by email: HHSTips@oig.hhs.gov.

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