Tag Archives: medicare

Medicare, money at center of 6th Congressional District mudslinging


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Traditional Medicare could be endangered if the power to decide the fate of the major, federal insurance program falls into the wrong party’s hands, according to a Democratic congressional hopeful.

“Republican plans for Medicare would end guaranteed benefits for our seniors and destroy the traditional Medicare option,” said Assemblymember Grace Meng, who hopes to secure a House seat in November.

The candidate was joined by former Congressmember Liz Holtzman to outline the “stark differences” between the two parties over handling Medicare, during an October 9 press conference outside the Bayside Senior Center.

“Seniors are rightly worried these days about important programs like Medicare being harmed by the misguided policies of the Tea Party Republicans in Washington, D.C.,” said Holtzman, who served in Congress from 1973 to 1981.

Meanwhile, Meng is being taken to task by her Republican rival, Councilmember Dan Halloran, for “ducking” two forums in the last week after having agreed earlier this year to face off with him in a series of five debates. In three out of four candidate nights, Halloran’s camp said the councilmember debated against “an empty chair.”

Halloran said he was “eager to publicly discuss” a recently published New York Post report, which said the councilmember is allegedly being investigated by the Albany district attorney for being over two years behind in filing campaign finance reports for his 2009 City Council run.

According to the Post, Halloran has missed five filing deadlines and owes the state $3,243 in fines and growing interest.

But Halloran’s camp said a State Board of Elections spokesperson was misquoted in the story, having never said the agency was contacted by the district attorney regarding Halloran’s filings.

Halloran had previously condemned Meng for failing to file her personal financial disclosures in May.

Medical identity theft rising: Steps to protect yourself


| ara@queenscourier.com

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(ARA) – Two million Americans fall victim to medical identity theft each year, according to a study by the Ponemon Institute, commissioned by Experian’s ProtectMyID. While medical identity theft costs victims an average of $22,346, the potential impact can be far greater – medical identity theft could cost some victims their health, or even their lives.

Medical identity theft involves the theft of personal information – such as your name, Social Security number or Medicare number – to obtain medical care, purchase drugs or submit false claims to Medicare. The crime can damage a victim’s credit rating and even be life-threatening if it causes incorrect information to appear in a victim’s personal medical records, warns the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

According to the study, while more Americans now understand just what medical identity theft is, few are taking the key steps that could help prevent it. Only 57 percent of survey respondents check their medical records for accuracy, and nearly one in five (18 percent) say they don’t care about the accuracy of their medical records.

“There are specific things that people can and should do to protect themselves from medical identity theft,” said Ken Chaplin, senior vice president of ProtectMyID. “People have to be vigilant with their personal information and avoid letting their guard down, even with family and friends.”

The Federal Trade Commission recommends you take these steps to help prevent medical identity theft:

* Before you share medical information with anyone, verify who you’re talking to. Never provide information over the phone or through the mail unless you initiated the contact and you’re confident you’re dealing with a legitimate organization. Be aware that medical identity thieves often try to scam consumers by posing as representatives of insurance companies, doctor’s offices, pharmacies and even government agencies.

* Protect your information. Keep paper copies of medical or insurance records and forms in a secure, locked file or drawer. When managing your health or insurance accounts online, be wary of any site that asks you to share sensitive information like your Social Security number, insurance account number or details of your medical conditions. Look for the hallmarks that a website is secure, including a web address (URL) that begins with “https” (the “s” stands for “secure”) and a lock symbol in the lower right-hand corner of the page.

* Picking through trash is a common ploy of identity thieves. Shred your discarded health insurance forms, bills and medical records before disposing of them. Destroy the labels on your prescription pill bottles and packages before throwing them away.

The OIG also offers tips for medical identity theft protection, including:

* Treat your Medicare and Social Security numbers and cards as carefully as you would your credit cards.

* Be wary of anyone who asks for your Medicare number in exchange for “free” medical equipment or services. If what they’re offering is really free, they shouldn’t need your numbers.

* Never let anyone use your Medicare ID card. The Ponemon survey found that a growing number of survey respondents (5 percent more in 2012 than in 2011) have allowed a family member to use their personal identification to obtain medical services, including treatment, health care products or pharmaceuticals. Doing so is against the law, and may afford unscrupulous individuals the chance to use that information for unauthorized purposes.

According to the Ponemon survey, it takes, on average, about a year to resolve an instance of medical identity theft, and a quarter of the survey respondents said it took more than two years. As with a serious medical issue, resolution can be made more challenging depending on how long the problem is allowed to fester.

Take an active role in protecting your medical information from identity thieves. Check your medical records regularly and keep an eye on all your financial and credit accounts. Products like ProtectMyID can help. A comprehensive identity theft detection, protection and resolution product, it can help you prevent the damages caused by identity theft.

 

Queens’ Morning Round Up – 11/03/2011: 12 charged in Queens with $95 million Medicare fraud


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up

12 charged in Queens with $95 million Medicare fraud

Federal authorities in New York City charged 12 people — including several doctors — with scheming to submit more than $95 million in false Medicare claims. The 12 were charged Wednesday with participating in Medicare fraud and money-laundering offenses in Brooklyn and Queens. In addition to three medical doctors, they include a chiropractor and a doctor of osteopathy. As part of the scheme, prosecutors said three Brooklyn health clinics paid kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries and used the beneficiaries’ names to bill Medicare for $71 million worth of services that were never provided. Read More: Wall Street Journal

 

 

Queens woman suffers miscarriage during deportation attempt by ICE; Feds reverse decision

The case of a Queens woman who suffered a miscarriage last month as she was about to be deported to Ecuador is being held up as a symbol of gaps in President Obama’s new immigration policy. Julia Casares, 36, was in the process of being expelled under new policies meant to target violent criminals and fresh arrivals while giving a temporary pass to longtime undocumented residents who pose no threat and have strong ties to the U.S. Read More: Daily News

 

 

Prosecutor in Sean Bell trial calls for firing of NYPD detective who shot man to death on wedding day

An NYPD trial ended Wednesday with a prosecutor calling for the firing of an undercover detective whose gunfire sparked the 50-shot barrage that killed a bridegroom on his wedding day.Nancy Slater lambasted Detective Gescard Isnora for a series of overreactions after leaving a Queens strip club and following Sean Bell and two friends under the mistaken impression they were going to get a gun. Read More: Daily News

 

 

Brooklyn man confesses to brutally slashing teenage girlfriend’s throat

A man confessed to murdering a 16-year-old girl in Brownsville, claiming he meant to slash her face and accidentally slashed her throat, killing her. Rashad Salaam, 22, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with murder in savage slaying of Kyanna Thomas. Thomas, of Rosedale, Queens, was visiting her aunt’s home in Bedford Stuyvesant when she snuck out a bedroom window to attend a party, said police. She was found with her throat slashed on MacDougal Street and Saratoga Avenue at 3 a.m. on September 25. She was able to call 911 for help before she died. Read More: Daily News

 

Worker Dies While Using Lawn Mower for Warmth

As the cold, heavy snow pelted a disbelieving city last Saturday, a landscaping crew — thoroughly chilled after hours spent working outside a church in the Bronx — loaded their equipment into two trucks and headed back to Queens, ready to call it an early day. In the back of one, surrounded by the tools of the trade, Jorge Perez and his cousin struggled to get warm. One of them fired up a lawn mower, hoping the engine might double as a hearth. The improvised attempt for warmth would turn out to be fatal. Mr. Perez, 21, would soon be found dead inside the truck, with his cousin critically injured; detectives in the 103rd Precinct in Queens believe that the culprit was carbon monoxide poisoning, the police said. Read More: Daily News