Have You Been Tricked into Signing Up for Hospice?

SMP hospice fraud

Have you suddenly lost access to your doctor? Are your specialists refusing to see you? Are you unable to get your prescriptions at the pharmacy? If any of these are true, you may have been tricked into signing up for hospice, a program that is medically unnecessary for you.

Hospice is an important benefit, covered by Medicare, and it is meant for Medicare beneficiaries with a terminal illness who have six months or less to live.

Yet hospice fraud is becoming an increasingly serious problem and is on the rise. California is leading the nation in hospice fraud reports. Los Angeles County alone has had a 1,500 percent increase in its number of hospice agencies since 2010, and had over “six-and-a-half times the national average number of hospice agencies relative to its aged population in 2019,” according to the findings of a 2022 California audit.

And, it’s not just about Medicare losing billions of tax-payer dollars to fraud, which is bad enough. It is about the negative effect hospice fraud has on people’s lives, their health and wellbeing and sometimes even causing premature death.

Here are some examples of a few hospice fraud case stories reported to our SMP:

  • 82-year-old Nancy reviews her quarterly Medicare Summary Notices (MSNs). She states: “My MSN shows I’m on hospice. I never agreed to this. I’m not dying.”
  • 70-year-old Margarito does not speak English. She says: “A woman approached me at a grocery store parking lot offering to help me get a better wheelchair. She took a picture of my Medicare card with her cell phone and had me sign a form. I still don’t have my chair and now my ear and eye doctors won’t see me. My cardiologist said he can’t write me a prescription due to being in hospice. What’s hospice? Can you help?”
  • 84-year-old Elias was unaware of his hospice enrollment until he went to the pharmacy to get his prescription filled and was told they could not fill it due to his hospice status.

Report Hospice Fraud
If you, or someone you know, signed up for free services but now faces issues accessing medical care, providers and/or prescriptions, please contact our California Senior Medicare Patrol immediately at 1 (855) 613-7080.

Download and share our hospice fraud alert available in both English and Spanish.

SMP voulunteers

Become an SMP Volunteer ~ Empower Others in Medicare Fraud Prevention!
Do you want to be a part of the solution to prevent hospice and other Medicare fraud? Consider volunteering with our California Senior Medicare Patrol team! This is a purposeful, passionate, community-oriented and fun way to make a difference!

SMP Volunteers work in their community, at senior centers, health fairs and elsewhere educating their peers about health care fraud, how to protect their identity and how to review their Medicare Summary Notices. They work one-on-one with beneficiaries, give presentations to groups and represent SMP at events.

SMP volunteers receive extensive initial and ongoing training, and are a part of a state and nationwide team of dynamic and dedicated volunteers and staff.

We’re on a mission, serving with passion, purpose and a smile! Become an SMP volunteer and help empower family, friends and your greater community to prevent, detect and report Medicare Fraud!

Contact us today for more information, or call us at 1 (855) 613-7080.