Written by Missouri SMP

The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine slowly continues in Missouri, and Medicare beneficiaries now qualify to get the vaccine as it becomes available. 

Patience and vigilance are necessary as local health departments, clinics and pharmacies set up vaccination events and alert the public. The Missouri SMP reminds older adults to watch out for strangers claiming to be a healthcare provider or health department ready to provide a vaccination, especially in exchange for your personal information. 

Here are some facts so that you don’t fall for scams or lies. 

You can receive the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost. You may be asked to give your insurance information (including your Medicare card) to the provider, but you can do so in person when you are getting your vaccine. Don’t give personal information over the phone unless you have made the call and  know for certain who is on the other end of the line. 

State governments are handling the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Look for updates from your state and local health officials. As of Feb. 1, Missouri was in Phase 1B, which means that all Medicare beneficiaries qualify to receive with the vaccine. To learn more, visit https://covidvaccine.mo.gov. 

There is no early access to the vaccine in exchange for money. Be very wary of anyone who calls or texts you “out of the blue” asking for your Social Security number, Medicare number, or your credit card or bank account information to sign you up to get the vaccine. 

The Missouri SMP is a non-profit agency that empowers and assists Medicare beneficiaries to prevent, detect and report healthcare fraud, errors and abuse.  

To learn more or report suspected Medicare fraud, call the Missouri SMP at 1-888-515-6565. This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MPPG0040, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living,  Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government  sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore,  necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.

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