Scamming the elderly out of their money is becoming more and more prevalent in our society. In an effort to make people – parents, children, grandchildren, siblings – more aware of the devious attempts by strangers, friends and relatives to prey on the elderly, I plan to post all of the scams I become aware of.
An elderly widow went to the local mall for a free health screening test. At the mall, she was asked for her insurance cards and asked to sign a blank insurance claim form. Without even thinking about the fact that a free health care check would not require any type of insurance information, she gave them her insurance card and signed a blank claim form.
A couple months later, she opened a bill from her health insurance company with several charges for services she never received. The total amount she owed the insurance company was over $8,000.00. Unlike a credit card company who can reverse the charges for purchases not made, the health care company held her liable even though she never received the services. She never opened the first couple of bills and by the time she opened it, the appeals period was over to contest the charges. She spent over a third of the $8,000.00 on attorneys trying to help her reverse the charges.
Elders should be extremely careful with their health insurance information. Do not give the information to strangers and never to people working at the free health screening sites, even if it is conducted at a retirement community. Free is free. Also, seniors need to review their health insurance charges as soon as they get a bill before the appeals period end.