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Electronic Medicare statements let seniors be fraud detectives, senators say

February 26, 2015
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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Two U.S. senators today introduced a bill that would provide regular electronic summaries of claims activity to Medicare beneficiaries as one way to curb fraud.

The Better Efficiency and Administrative Simplification Act, introduced by Sen. John Thune (R–S.D.) and Sen. Mark Warner (D–Va.), stresses that Medicare beneficiaries can help monitor for fraud if they receive frequent, electronic updates on their own claims histories.

"Americans receive important electronic statements every day—whether it’s from their bank or cable provider or utility company—that make keeping track of their personal finances easier and more secure," Thune said in a press statement jointly released by both senators. "This bill applies the same concept, giving seniors an option to better monitor their Medicare services and utilization by receiving their quarterly statements electronically, reducing the chance of Medicare fraud. Our bill also takes an important step toward improving CMS’ contracting process with individuals who help administer Medicare programs and services."    

The legislation is based on a demonstration project that studied how beneficiaries themselves could help Medicare unearth fraudulent billing by acting as watchdogs for duplicate services, billing errors and services that were charged to Medicare but never provided. The bill is part of the Protecting the Integrity of Medicare Act of 2015, currently working its way through the House of Representatives.