2/14/20 – Someone’s Getting Seniors Personal Information

The Official U.S. Government Medicare Handbook for 2020 over pages of a Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General report, are shown, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020 in Washington. A government watchdog tells The Associated Press it will launch a nationwide audit that may shed light on how seniors’ personal Medicare information is getting to telemarketers, raising concerns about fraud and waste. An official with the Health and Human Services inspector general's office says the audit will be announced next week. (AP Photos/Wayne Partlow)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A government watchdog plans to launch a nationwide probe into how telemarketers may be getting hold of seniors’ personal Medicare information, a red flag for potential fraud and waste. An official with the Health and Human Services inspector general’s office tells The Associated Press that the audit will be announced next week. It follows a narrower probe which found that an electronic system designed for pharmacies to verify Medicare coverage was being used for what appeared to be inappropriate searches. Investigators say sensitive information can get out even when a Medicare beneficiary thinks he or she is dealing with a trustworthy entity such as a pharmacy or doctor’s office.