New Alert System Scheme Targets Seniors

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“Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” is a well known phrase that we have heard over and over on the radio and television that advertises an alert product for seniors living alone.  This product can most certainly be a life saver, but it is also easy for schemers to market sound alike products that are actually a bad deal.

Recently, a new scheme targeting seniors has come to light that appears to be a ruse to possible Medicare fraud.  The senior receives a phone call about an alert system that is free for six months, and then it is only $10 a month.  Sounds like a good deal and it certainly beats out the well known national competitor, but with all things too good to be true, is it a real deal?  How does it work?

First, they want to send someone to your home to discuss the system with you.  Then at the appointment, they turn the tables and want to provide you a back brace and a knee brace that will be “free” from Medicare. “This is a good example of how someone can steal money from the Medicare system,” states Barbara Parrott McGinity, Program Director for the Texas Senior Medicare Patrol.  “They offer a simple item, tell you we will get your doctor to approve it, and since Medicare pays for it, why not get it?”

Prior to receiving medical supplies or services, you should have a discussion with your physician about what is best for you.

What can you do to protect yourself and your Medicare benefits?

If you really think you are interested in receiving a service, you should talk to a reputable supplier in your area.  Be very cautious about allowing uninvited salespersons into your home. It might be a good idea to invite a trusted family member or friend to be with you during a sales presentation.  More importantly, please call the Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) at 1-888-515-6565 with any questions or concerns.

This website was supported in part by a grant No. 90-SP-0025 from the Administration on Aging (AoA), Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Grantees carrying out projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Therefore, points of view or opinions do not necessarily represent official AoA, ACL, or DHHS policy.