Senior Medicare patrol volunteeers protect, inform and serve seniors
BY ALLAN TINKER
On May 8, Eunice Meidinger, Re-gional Volunteer Coordinator for the Senior Medicare Patrol, brought a virtual ton of helpful information to the McClusky Senior Citizens Center.
Emphasis was on help in many avenues of life. Foremost was the prevention of fraud and the damage it can do to a senior’s finances, credit or self-esteem.
According to the SMP information $1 out of every $10 spent on federal health programs is wasted. It is estimated Medicare and Medicaid programs lost more than $47 billion dollars last year to a handful of dishonest individuals and simple errors.
Annual losses in both the public and private sectors due to health care fraud range from 5 to 10 percent of all health care expenses--between $90 and $180 BILLION based on 2004 estimated health care expenditures of $1.8 billion.
The ND SMP project provides products and services to ND seniors promoting understanding of Medicare and Medicaid program benefits. Volunteers like Meidinger work to educate ND seniors about the importance of reviewing their Medicare notices to identify billing errors, as well as potentially fraudulent activity. Program volunteers also encourage seniors to make inquiries to the ND SMP project these issues are identified, so that the project may help them get appropriate resolution or referrals to help.