The Senior Medicare Patrol program helps Medicare beneficiaries avoid, detect, and prevent health care fraud. Not only do SMP programs protect beneficiaries, they also protect the integrity of Medicare and cut down on fraud and waste. Nationally, there are nearly 6,000 SMP volunteers! Most volunteers are both retired and Medicare beneficiaries and thus well-positioned to assist their peers.
Their primary goal is to teach Medicare beneficiaries how to protect their personal identity, identify and report errors on their health care bills, and identify deceptive health care practices, such as illegal marketing, providing unnecessary or inappropriate services, and charging for services that were never provided. In some cases, SMPs do more than educate: When Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries are unable to act on their own behalf to address these problems, the SMPs work with family caregivers and others to address the problems, and if necessary, make referrals to outside organizations to intervene.
Why is SMP important?
Last year, there was over $60 billion in Medicare fraud! SMP programs contribute immensely to reducing this number. Total savings to Medicare, Medicaid, beneficiaries, and other payers attributed to the SMP projects is $106 million.