Fraud Alert – Medical Equipment Scams

Warning Signs

  • You receive an unsolicited call or other communication offering a free or low-cost medical device as a Medicare “benefit.”
  • Someone claiming to be from Medicare asks for your Medicare or Social Security number. Medicare representatives almost never make unsolicited calls to consumers and do not ask for personal information by phone.
  • Your quarterly Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) or an explanation of benefits (EOB) from your health plan lists medical equipment you did not order or receive.

Dos

  • Do hang up on unsolicited calls offering you a medical device that will be billed to Medicare.
  • Do carefully review MSNs and EOBs. Call Medicare (800-633-4227) or your insurance company if you see claims for supplies or services you don’t recognize.
  • Do be aware that if you accept an offer of medical equipment, you could be responsible for up to 20 percent of the Medicare-approved cost of them.

Don’ts

  • Don’t give your Medicare or insurance number to strangers. Share it only with trusted health care providers.
  • Don’t order durable medical equipment over the phone unless advised to do so by your physician.
  • Don’t accept delivery of medical equipment unless it was ordered by your doctor.
  • Don’t be swayed by scare tactics, such as claims by an equipment provider that you should get a device now because Medicare is running out of money. Charging Medicare for equipment for future use, before your doctor certifies it as medically necessary, is illegal.

Learn more about frauds and scams targeting seniors at smpresource.org.