Forum, July 13: Beware of fraud targeting seniors

Published: 7/12/2019 10:00:15 PM
Modified: 7/12/2019 10:00:03 PM
Beware of fraud targeting seniors

A fraud is occurring in New Hampshire and across the nation in which scammers claim to represent genetic testing companies and offer “free” tests to Medicare beneficiaries. These tests can also be called DNA screenings, cancer screenings or hereditary testing. The scammers go to senior centers, senior housing, health fairs and even parking lots to try to persuade people to let them take a cheek swab for testing. They promise that results will help avoid diseases, and it’s free. All they ask for in return is the person’s Medicare number. This is how scammers are obtaining Medicare information for identity theft or fraudulent billing purposes.

The federal Office of Inspector General has issued a fraud alert warning people to be suspicious of anyone who offers “free genetic testing” and then requests their Medicare number.

The only way Medicare will pay for genetic testing is if the beneficiary’s doctor has approved it. When Medicare denies the claim, the beneficiary could be responsible for the cost of the test, which can be $9,000-$11,000.

Medicare beneficiaries should not give out any personal information or accept screening services from someone at a community event. Go to your own doctor to assess the need for genetic testing. Refuse the delivery of any genetic testing kit that was not ordered by your physician.

If your Medicare Summary Notice or Explanation of Benefits lists “gene analysis” or “molecular pathology” as a service, be suspicious and contact your local Senior Medicare Patrol agency (603-448-1558 or 802-476-0115). These agencies can help assist Medicare beneficiaries, their families and caregivers to prevent, detect and report health care fraud, errors and abuse.



The writer is the State Health Insurance Assistance Program coordinator and information and referral specialist with Grafton County ServiceLink.

Electric vehicles are not the answer

A Tesla Model 3, with four-wheel drive and longer range, which is highly essential in Vermont, costs about $50,000, plus sales tax, etc., about two times the price of a Subaru Outback with four-wheel drive. Mine gets about 29.5 mpg. The Subaru is far more useful for Vermonters, which is the reason so many of them are sold in Vermont and all of New England.

If rental fleets calculated that electric vehicles had a lower owning and operating cost versus gasoline vehicles, they would buy them by the tens of thousands.

It turns out, according to numerous studies, that on a lifetime basis, the CO2 reduction of electric vehicles versus efficient gasoline vehicles is minimal if upstream CO2 and downstream CO2 are included, even with the New England grid slowly getting cleaner due to increased use of wind and solar power.

Subsidizing electric vehicles would be at a very high cost per metric ton of CO2 reduced, especially for an asset with such a short useful life. Increased energy efficiency of buildings would be far less costly per metric ton of CO2 reduced, because they are assets with a long life.



Rep. Lucas Gates should resign

In his recent Primary Source column, John Gregg wrote about New Hampshire state Rep. Gates Lucas, R-Sunapee, and his lack of attendance in the House (“A Sunapee freshman,” July 2).

Lucas missed 49 roll call votes, far outnumbering all others. His excuse for his lack of participation was that he couldn’t take time off from his full-time job to adequately represent his constituents.

It’s a mystery why he would run for the New Hampshire House if he didn’t have the time to do the job. Is he “representing” us by using his current position as a steppingstone to a higher office? Perhaps he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps and run for governor. Based on his current dismal record, his election would be unlikely.

He could now serve his constituents by admitting he can’t handle the job and resign.



Thank you, Enfield, for the opportunity

I would like to take this time to thank Enfield residents for the opportunity to serve as a cemetery trustee.

I have resigned the position for health concerns.

Thank you again.




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