This is a guest post by Sam Peters
If you have been watching any daytime television over the past fifteen years, you know there is strong competition for your mobility dollar. Your government sponsored healthcare is willing to spend big money on your increased mobility and companies are in a marketing war to receive those benefits. Gone are the days of walkers and manual wheelchairs and in are the days of power scooters and wheelchairs. It is easier than ever to keep an active lifestyle.
While there are many options in the electric powered mobility market, there is even more fraud taking place amongst Medicare. While seniors do not need to fear increased bills or any other financial burdens when receiving these devices, the taxpayers are paying over $700 million a year for these power wheelchairs when they could be spending it on better things.
According to The Office of the Inspector General, in 2007 61 percent of power wheelchairs given to those on Medicare did not provide the correct documentation necessary to warrant the devices. Out of those claims, about 9 percent of the wheelchairs were deemed medically unnecessary while 52 percent had errors and misstatements on the claims.
While the power wheelchair devices cost around $3,000 each for every unit issued, they are rarely, if ever necessary. As recently reported by Fox Business commentator John Stossel, the power wheelchairs, while a novel innovation, are far less effective than cheaper scooter models which can also be subsidized by the government. Doctors and medical suppliers are often in cahoots to increase profits for specific brands and take advantage of tax payers and insurance companies to make their money.
How to Report Abuse
If you believe that you are being used as a pawn in a medical supplier’s scheme you should report abuse as soon as possible. The Medicare website gives some excellent tips on how to spot abuse and fraud first hand. If any of these scenarios happen to you, contact the Medicare hotline at 1800-Medicare:
- Suppliers try to cold call you and offer you a free power wheelchair or scooter out of the blue
- You find charges for medical equipment that has been returned or never received at all
- You are offered to have your copay taken care of by suppliers or your doctor
Just because you are offered a free electric powered device doesn’t mean that it actually free. Think of all the tax burdens you had to pay while earning money as a young worker. Too often there is nothing to show from it but government waste and corruption. By fighting this scourge you can help make the country’s infrastructure better and save money at the same time.
Bio: Sam Peters is a blogger with interests in financial and senior topics including retirement calculators.