Pennsylvania Human Services Warns of Potential Medicaid Scam, Reminds Public of Safe Ways to Apply for Assistance

Dr. Val ArkooshDr. Val Arkoosh, Dept. of Human Services (DHS) / Credit: Commonwealth Media Services

PENNSYLVANIA — Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Dr. Val Arkoosh is informing Pennsylvanians of a potential scam targeting individuals who receive Medicaid wherein a scammer implies that an individual’s health care coverage is in jeopardy and asks for their personal payment information to continue their coverage. 

“DHS has been communicating with Medicaid recipients for the past year about their renewals, but DHS will never ask for personal information in an unsolicited text message or phone call. If someone is claiming to be from or affiliated with the Department and they are asking you for your personal information, it is a scam,” said Secretary Arkoosh. “Please do not fall victim to identity theft. If you ever receive a suspicious call or text asking you for information about your benefits or for your financial information, please inform the DHS fraud tip line immediately so the proper authorities can investigate.”

Please report any texts or calls about DHS benefits that seem suspicious by calling the DHS fraud tip line at 1-844-DHS-TIPS (1-844-347-8477).

The scam involves a text message from “Health Services,” “Health Solutions,” or “Innovative Partners” that claims a recipient may need to review their health care plan; an example of the scam is below:

ma scam 1

Further interaction with this message directs individuals to a phone number that a person will answer. This person claims the caller’s Medicaid policy was terminated, and they are required to pay additional premiums:

ma scam 2

The scammer then asks for payment information and indicates that failure to provide this will result in DHS not renewing their Medicaid application:

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ma scam 3

PLEASE NOTE: DHS will not ask for payment to process a Medicaid application or renewal except in limited circumstances (such as to pay a premium), and DHS will not request personal or account information over the phone, in email, or via text messages. DHS is required to give 15 days’ notice before the closure of a Medicaid case.

State Inspector General Lucas M. Miller added, “The men and women of the Office of State Inspector General (OSIG) are dedicated to protecting the integrity of public assistance programs, and we need your help. Please report to OSIG any individual or business that may be trying to steal benefits.”

The public can make such reports through OSIG’s website or by calling the Public Assistance Fraud Tipline at 1-800-932-0582.

DHS does send informational text messages and phone calls to people who receive SNAP, Medicaid, and other benefits from the number 1-833-648-1964. However, DHS’ text messages will not include:

  • Details about a person’s benefits, such as the amount of SNAP they are authorized to receive,
  • A request for specific personal information, and/or
  • Links to unofficial sites; most DHS texts will direct people to dhs.pa.gov, COMPASS, or a site that ends in .gov or .org.

DHS also, at times, makes phone calls to people receiving benefits to let them know about changes that could affect their benefits or upcoming renewal dates. These texts and calls are meant to be informational and will not reference specific account numbers. Because of federal changes to SNAP and Medicaid, text alerts have been part of DHS’ statewide, multi-pronged outreach plan to reach Pennsylvanians and inform them of the changes. Outreach to Medicaid recipients is ongoing and will continue to include those texts, mail, email, and phone calls to make certain they are aware of the federal action affecting their benefits; a schedule and copies of legitimate communications is available on DHS’ website.

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Pennsylvanians who have questions about whether a call, text, letter, or other communication is legitimate should contact DHS’ Office of Income Maintenance.

Applications for public assistance programs can be submitted online at www.dhs.pa.gov/compass. On-site County Assistance Office (CAO) services are available if clients cannot access online services or need assistance that cannot be accessed through the COMPASS website, the MyCOMPASS PA mobile app, or by calling the Customer Service Centers at 215-560-7226 for Philadelphia clients or 1-877-395-8930 for clients in all other counties.

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