April 15, 2019

Fraud Alert: Nationwide Brace Scam

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General has warned the public about a common fraud scheme involving orthotic braces and other medical supplies. Scammers are making direct phone calls to Medicare beneficiaries as well as running TV and radio ads encouraging them to order “FREE” braces from their companies. If a Medicare beneficiary provides or verifies their Medicare information, a brace or other piece of medical equipment could be sent to their home and billed to Medicare, even if the supplies are not medically necessary. If unneeded supplies are billed to your Medicare, then you may be ineligible for these types of supplies should you actually need them in the future.

Here are some tips to protect yourself:

  • HANG UP IMMEDIATELY if you receive a call from someone offering you free Medical equipment that will be billed to Medicare.
  • If unrequested equipment is delivered to you, DO NOT ACCEPT IT. Refuse delivery or return to the sender. Also, keep a record of the company who sent it and the date you returned it.
  • BEWARE of anyone who requests your Medicare number or offers you free medical equipment.
  • Talk to a doctor you know and trust before ordering any medical equipment to see if he or she would prescribe the equipment to you based on medical need.
  • If you suspect Medicare fraud, contact the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General at 1–800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477).

For more information, visit https://oig.hhs.gov/fraud/consumer-alerts/alerts/bracescam.asp .

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