The Nebraska Department of Insurance is warning about a potential scam involving DNA cheek swabs.

The Department sent out a news release last week saying it had received "multiple reports" of groups going to senior centers and assisted-living facilities offering to give cheek swabs purportedly as a way to get DNA to check for cancer.

The department said in its news release that Medicare does not cover genetic testing for noncancer patients and that people should avoid such services because they likely are scams.

In a statement, Insurance Department Director Bruce Ramge said the swabbing scam had occurred in multiple cities, including Lincoln, although he did not provide the names of any of the centers.

He said the Insurance Department has forwarded the information it has to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Ramge said the department has a couple of concerns. One is that Medicare dollars may have been spent fraudulently on services that are not covered. The other is that people who were swabbed may face bills for services that Medicare won't cover.

The department warned individuals and senior centers to be skeptical of any entity asking them to agree to be billed for any services in the event Medicare does not pay.

Those who believe they might have encountered such a scam are encouraged to call the Insurance Department's Consumer Affairs Division at 402-471-0888.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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