Beware of Genetic Testing Scams

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, (OIG) alerted the public about a fraud scheme involving genetic testing. The scam leads Medicare beneficiaries to think their genetic testing kit is covered, but they end up having to pay the full cost out-of-pocket.

According to the OIG, genetic testing fraud occurs when Medicare is billed for a test or screening that was not medically necessary and/or was not ordered by Medicare beneficiary’s treating physician.

This is how the scam works. Scammers offer Medicare beneficiaries “free” genetic screenings or cheek swabs for genetic testing. Their goal is to obtain their Medicare information for identity theft or fraudulent billing purposes. The scammers are contacting Medicare beneficiaries through telemarketing calls, booths at public events, health fairs, and door-to-door visits.

Do you have loved ones who are Medicare beneficiaries? It is a very good idea to have a conversation about the genetic testing scam with them.

Those who agree to genetic testing, or who verify personal or Medicare information, may receive a cheek-swab, an in-person screening, or a testing kit in the mail. This convinces the person that Medicare will cover the cost of testing, even if the test is not ordered by a physician or medically necessary.

Even worse, if Medicare denies the claim, your loved one could be stuck paying the full cost of the genetic test. It could potentially cost thousands of dollars.

The OIC recommends that people do not accept genetic testing kits that are mailed to them (unless it was ordered by their physician). Be suspicious of anyone who offers “free” genetic testing. Keep in mind that legitimate genetic testing companies charge money for the test, and never ask for a Medicare number.

Don’t give anyone your Medicare number or other personal information. Scammers may try and use your personal information in other fraud schemes.

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