Staff Report

Local seniors are being warned about a “genetic testing” scam targeting Medicare beneficiaries that has turned up on the Central Coast.

“Seniors may be approached at a senior center or at senior living facilities,” said Chairman Barry Jay Marks of the Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council. “The genetic testing scam is offered as a ‘free’ test, but isn’t free and may not be necessary. Genetic testing needs to be ordered by your primary physician and be ‘medically necessary.’”

 “Some scammers may call Medicare beneficiaries and encourage them to have genetic testing or cancer screenings,” he continued. “The offer will include a free test kit and ask that it be returned with their insurance information. This will then allow the scammers to bill Medicare for thousands of dollars of expensive and unnecessary testing.”

The California Senior Medicare Patrol provides these three tips:

  • Beware of anyone who advertises free genetic testing and cancer screenings. Check with your doctor first.
  • Beware of anyone who promises genetic testing and cancer screenings covered 100 percent by Medicare. Medicare covers only tests and procedures that are medically necessary.
  • Watch your Medicare Summary Notice statements for unnecessary tests or screenings that you did not want or were not ordered by your doctor.

For more information, call Marks or Julie Posada, HICAP Program Manager, at 805-928-5663 or 1-800-434-0222.