When it comes to financial matters, senior citizens are vulnerable to exploitation—otherwise known as elder abuse—from family members, friends, neighbors, caregivers and even businesses. More than half of elder financial fraud is committed by strangers, one-third by loved ones, and about one-tenth by businesses.
Medicare is one of the areas in which elders are at risk of becoming the victims of fraud. Unscrupulous individuals or businesses attempt to use a senior citizen’s personal and/or Medicare information to charge the Medicare program for items and/or services the elder never received.
According to the Medicare.gov website, individuals and businesses attempt to cheat Medicare in the following ways:
- a doctor or healthcare provider bills the program for services and elder never received
- a healthcare supplier bills Medicare for equipment an elder never ordered
- an unauthorized person uses and elder’s Medicare card to get medical care, supplies or equipment or bills Medicare for home medical equipment after that equipment has been returned
- a company offers a Medicare drug plan not yet approved by Medicare or willfully uses false information to mislead an elder into joining a Medicare plan
Those elders most vulnerable to financial fraud range from 80 to 89 years of age. Statistics show that these seniors usually live alone and that they are female: nearly twice the number of women as men become the victims of fraud. Perpetrators of elder financial fraud are both genders. However, the majority are men between the ages of 30 and 59 while female perpetrators are between the ages of 30 and 49.
Current estimates suggest that Americans over the age of 50 control 70% of the national wealth. Given these numbers, it’s no surprise that elder financial abuse is on the rise throughout the United States. If you suspect that you or an elderly loved one has been the victim of Medicare financial fraud, contact the attorneys at the Barrera Law Firm. We have the know-how and experience to help seniors restore their good name and peace of mind.