- Senior citizens told CBS News that DNA testing company Genexe Health is billing them thousands of dollars for tests they never saw the results for.
- The organisation is telling people that its testing can detect the likelihood of a cancer diagnosis based on their genes.
- But many people haven’t received any results, and now their Medicare accounts are being billed thousands of dollars.
- The Centres for Medicare & Medicaid Services warned in a statement last week that if Medicare is billed for a test that wasn’t medically necessary or ordered by a doctor, patients could end up footing the bill.
- Genexe Health is now under federal investigation, according to CBS News.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A Medicare scam posing as a genetic testing organisation that can detect the likelihood of cancer diagnoses is scamming senior citizens out of thousands of dollars, according to a report from CBS News.
Senior citizens told CBS News that DNA testing company Genexe Health is billing them thousands of dollars for tests they never saw the results for.
They said the company asks for a cheek swab, and that the results are supposed to tell a person if they carried genes that would make a cancer diagnosis more likely. Patients were told Medicare would foot the bill.
But many people haven’t received any results, and now their Medicare accounts are being billed thousands of dollars.
According to CBS News’ investigation, people’s Medicare accounts have been billed between $US7,000 and $US21,000 for such tests.
Ken and Judy Johnson, a couple from Austin, Texas, said they were approached at an arts festival in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, by a recruiter offering to swab their cheeks for a test that Medicare would pay for. They were told they would receive the results in four to six weeks, but it’s now a year later, and they still haven’t heard anything. Their Medicare accounts, meanwhile, have been billed more than $US18,000.
“I’ve had cancer. I had cancer six years ago. They indicated that they could give us some results that if it’s genetic, that it could be passed on to my children. We’ve got four daughters,” Judy told CBS News. “I mean, it hits me that we’ve been taken.”
‘It’s just pure greed’
One Genexe office manager in Texas, who asked to remain anonymous, told CBS News that swabs “get lost” and she often finds them in the garbage.
“It’s just pure greed. Pure, pure greed. It had nothing to do with taking care of the community,” she said.
The Centres for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) warned in a statement to AARP last week that if Medicare is billed for a test that wasn’t medically necessary or ordered by a doctor, the claim could be denied and patients could end up footing the bill.
“Only a doctor you know and trust should order and approve any requests for genetic testing,” the statement said.
Authorities in several states have warned that the company targets senior communities and low-income neighbourhoods, according to Bloomberg.
Perpetrators of such schemes bill the government for unneeded medical tests and use the information they collect from supposed patients to commit fraud and identity theft, authorities said.
CBS News found that one woman who was pitching cancer tests for the company in Ohio was convicted in 2017 of securities fraud worth half a million dollars. Genexe Health is currently under federal investigation, the report said.
Genexe Health didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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