Durable Medical Equipment – Medicare Scams

Dr. Sherry McCoy PhD

is a freelance writer & actor for the Stop Senior Scams Acting Program (SSSAP) in Los Angeles.  Follow SSSAP on Facebook .  For more info re: SSSAP, contact Adrienne Omansky at SSSAP4U@gmail.com.  Questions for the writer should be directed to “Dear Sherry” at Not Born Yesterday! P.O. Box 722, Brea, CA 92822 or nbynews@juno.com.


Dr. Sherry McCoy, PhD – Stop Senior Scams  Acting Program

Here we are in April again!  It’s hard to believe we’re already in the second quarter of 2019.  Meanwhile, as time marches on, fraudsters are busy making their nefarious plans to separate us from our hard-earned cash and retirement funds.  Medicare is a prime target area for these criminals.  In fact, “according to the U.S. government, the Medicare Trust Fund loses between $60 and $90 Billion dollars every year to fraud, waste and abuse” (www.cahealthadvocates.org).  That’s a lot of money.  Sadly, however, no one really knows how much money is stolen each year by con artists and swindlers.  The actual total is likely far greater, because this figure only represents what has been reportedas a result of scams. This is because those who have been defrauded oftentimes don’t report the incident out of fear and embarrassment.

MEDICARE FRAUD – Durable Medical Equipment

Durable medical equipment is one of the top arenas where Medicare fraud truly has run amok.  Here’s a prime example — We’ve all seen ads in the newspapers or on television that say you can get a knee brace (or a neck brace, or back brace, etc.) for little or no cost if you have Medicare.  According to these ads, you don’t have to include your doctor or healthcare practitioner in this decision – no prescription is required. All you have to do, the ads say, is call them and give them your Medicare number and they’ll take care of the paperwork easy as pie!  – Well, don’t believe it!  It’s a scam.

Here’s the truth –

  1. Just because an advertisement appears in the newspaper or on TV, doesn’t mean it’s real or legitimate.
  2. Nothing in Medicare is “free”.
  3. In order for Medicare to pay for durable medical equipment, it must be medically necessary and prescribed by your physician.
  4. You should guard your Medicare number, your Social Security Number, and other personal information. Keep this information in a safe place, and do not give it out to anyone.

Please note that durable medical equipment scams are not only found in newspaper ads or on TV.  These scammers also send out postcards via the U.S. mail and will call you on the phone in order to tempt you with their fraudulent schemes.  Don’t fall for it!  Just hang up!

If you have questions about Medicare fraud / abuse, or believe you have been the victim of Medicare fraud please contact the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) at 1-855-613-7080.  SMP has highly trained volunteers who will help Medicare beneficiaries prevent, detect, and report healthcare fraud.  Also, the volunteers at SMP will teach Medicare beneficiaries how to recognize scams, protect personal health info, and identify and report errors on healthcare statements.  For more info regarding California SMP, go towww.cahealthadvocates.org.

If you feel you have been the target or victim of a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357 or https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1.  And then — Pass It On!  Contact the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office online at http://da.lacounty.gov// or phone (213) 974-3512.

Remember:  You may be a target, but you don’t have to be a victim!

Dr. Sherry McCoy, PhD, is a freelance writer & actor for the Stop Senior Scams ℠Acting Program (SSSAP) in Los Angeles. Save the Date – SSSAP performs (free): April 9, 9:45-11:30 am, Our Lady of Lourdes, Stroup Hall, 18400 Kinzie Street, Northridge, CA 91325.  For more information, please contact Adrienne Omansky at SSSAP4U@gmail.com.  Follow SSSAP on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SSSAP2016/?fref=ts.  Questions for the writer should be directed to “Dear Sherry” at Not Born Yesterday! P.O. Box 722, Brea, CA 92822 or nbynews@juno.com.

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