Tips to avoid medical supply scams

Published: Aug. 13, 2019 at 5:37 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - It usually will come from a phone call or email out of the blue. You’re qualified to receive a free back brace, knee brace, or some other piece of medical equipment. Scam alert, you may get something for free, but we’re all paying for it in the long run.

"If you're on Medicare and you don't need a back brace, knee brace or lift chair, tell them no,” said David Smitherman with the Better Business Bureau. “It's not only illegal if the company never had a relationship with you, it's illegal for them to call you in the first place."

Smitherman says these fraudulent medical equipment companies scam Medicare out of about $60 billion every year. That affects us all, since we’re all paying for it. While you may get a free brace you don’t need, these companies are billing Medicare and insurance companies to pay for it. This could still hurt you in the long run.

"Two years from now when you actually need some kind of brace, and you apply for it, Medicare will deny it because they already sent you one."

The big takeaway here, nothing is free. If a company is offering you a free brace you don’t need, say no, because somebody will have to pay for it. If you need a brace your personal doctor will write you a prescription. And check out the Better Business Bureau website if you have questions about a specific company.

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