"Who pays? You pay" pays off

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Thursday, January 31, 2002

WASHINGTON - A recent OIG follow-up of a 1998 study shows that the group's "Who pays? You pay" campaign to educate beneficiaries about Medicare fraud has worked, for the most part.

The OIG found that beneficiary knowledge of Medicare fraud has increased 15% in the past three years. It also found that 24% of beneficiaries are now aware of groups inside and outside of the federal government that are involved in efforts to reduce fraud.

For the follow-up, the OIG completed 543 surveys from a random sample of 1,498 Medicare beneficiaries - a 36% response rate.

The "Who pays? You pay?" campaign had set forth a three-step process for beneficiaries to report Medicare fraud: 1.) Clarify unusual Medicare charges with their healthcare providers; 2.) Contact their Medicare insurance company; and 3.) Call the OIG hotline.

Not all the findings were as the OIG had hoped, however. Most beneficiaries are still not aware that there is a toll-free number to report Medicare fraud. In 1998, 86% of beneficiaries were not aware of the number; in 2001, 85% were not aware. HME

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