You’ve probably received an email or phone call offering you a free knee brace, diabetes test strips or a personal alarm system. The caller says it’s FREE. Medicare or your health insurance plan will cover 100% of the cost. You are assured there’s no obligation on your part and all they need is a little information to get started.
Sounds tempting, but my advice to you is WATCH OUT. It may be a scam designed to separate you from your hard earned money.
According to the Better Business Bureau, “In one version (of the scam) the recorded call claims that you can get an alarm system or medical supplies worth several hundred dollars for free. You are just responsible for a low monthly charge. In another variation, the call or email claims that “doctor-ordered” medicine or a medical device is already in the mail, and the call is confirming the shipment. In both cases, you will be asked to provide personal and/or insurance information. Just don’t expect your “free” products to ever arrive.”
If you wish to follow up on a low-cost or free offer you’ve received, take the callers information and then contact your doctor or healthcare provider to help you determine whether the product or device is something you need. Medicare and insurance companies only cover durable medical equipment and other items that are medically necessary. You may want a scooter, but if you don’t need one, Medicare won’t pay for it.
Remember, it is illegal for medical device companies to make unsolicited calls to people on Medicare. The only three exceptions to this rule are:
1. If you gave the company written permission to contact you
2. If you received an item from the company in the past
3. If the item you received was covered by your plan or the call is regarding that item.
While some of these low-cost/no-cost offers may be legitimate, you should always be careful. Under no circumstances should you provide personal medical information, banking information or Medicare identification information to anyone before you double check with your insurance company, your health care provider and the Better Business Bureau.
Always remember the old saying, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
Got questions on insurance? Call me today at 440-255-5700 or email me at Lmutsko@mutskoinsurance.com.