Fraud Alert: Latest Medicare Scam Involves DNA Testing Scheme

DNA testing scams are becoming rampant all over the country, including Ohio.

Recently, a New Jersey man was sentenced to 50 months in prison for defrauding Medicare of more than $430,000 by convincing hundreds of senior citizens to submit to genetic testing.

Older adults at senior centers, housing complexes, and other community locations are being targeted by companies promoting “free” genetic testing, cancer screening, or DNA testing. During an event at these locations, older adults are asked to swab their cheek to collect a DNA sample, which will be sent to a lab for analysis. They are told the test will be covered by Medicare, and all that is needed is their Medicare number.

Other variations of the scam include phoning beneficiaries at home and telling them they will be sent a DNA testing kit in the mail. In this case, the person is asked to perform the cheek swab at home and then return the kit in the mail for DNA analysis. The caller asks for the person’s Medicare number and reiterates there will be no charge.

Please note that genetic testing is a Medicare-covered service in only a very limited number of cases. These include medical diagnoses relating to some types of cancers requiring chemotherapy, some forms of inherited cardiac disease, and some types of psychiatric treatment with drugs whose genetic tests may be covered by Medicare. In these instances, testing must be ordered by a physician who is treating the patient for one of these problems.