The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is alerting the public about a fraud scheme involving orthotic braces and other medical equipment.
Scammers are offering Medicare beneficiaries orthotic braces that are supposedly free to them and covered by Medicare. Fraudsters (1) may call beneficiaries directly to offer braces or (2) use television or radio advertisements to encourage beneficiaries to order free braces by calling the phone number provided.
If a beneficiary provides or verifies personal or Medicare information, a brace is sent even if it is not requested by the beneficiary or medically necessary. Often, a beneficiary receives multiple braces. Medicare is then billed for each brace using the beneficiary’s information.
If a beneficiary has received unwanted or unneeded braces, and that equipment is billed to Medicare, then Medicare may deny a brace that the beneficiary needs in the future.