If you’re approached by someone who offers “free” genetic testing or cancer screening, turn them down.

Medicare doesn’t cover such tests unless a doctor who’s treating you orders them and they’re medically necessary.

Laboratory representatives have allegedly been taking swabs inside the mouths of Medicare beneficiaries at health fairs, senior centers, residential complexes for older people, and veterans’ centers.

Some seniors are getting cold calls about genetic testing kits. The caller usually offers to send a “free” genetic testing kit and asks only that you return the completed kit with your insurance information — including a Medicare number.

Beneficiaries’ numbers are then used to bill Medicare for thousands of dollars of medically unnecessary genetic testing.

More creative schemes involve sending invitations to an “ice cream social” where seniors hear a presentation about “no cost” genetic testing and/or cancer screenings. During the presentation, seniors are asked for their Medicare numbers – and Medicare is later billed thousands of dollars per test.

Seniors are also being asked for the Medicare numbers and other private information after being brought into health-fair booths for DNA swabs of their cheeks.

In some instances, seniors are given gift cards and told that Medicare will be billed for the tests, even though there’s no physician order for them.

Remember:

Don’t give your DNA away to a stranger! Beware of people who cold-call you or show up at your front door uninvited to push genetic tests and cancer screenings. Watch out for people who claim such tests are “100 percent covered by Medicare.”

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