Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

August 28, 2012

Medicare rules can protect you from aggressive sales people

Daily Iowegian

APPANOOSE COUNTY — Some medical supplies and equipment used in your home, called “durable medical equipment” or “DME” are covered by Medicare. This is a valuable benefit but it’s more challenging to navigate than choosing doctors and hospitals. You must have a prescription and choose a business from which to get the supplies.

DME businesses must follow sales rules.

1. If you go to a group meeting run by a DME salesperson, you shouldn’t be asked to give your personal contact information or your Medicare number.

2. If you get a phone call from a DME business they should only contact you

a. about supplies you already have from them (in other words, you are already a customer of theirs) or

b. if they have written permission from you or

c. if you have been a customer of theirs within the last 15 months.

Iowans are receiving cold calls from DME businesses trying to convince them to sign up for supplies by giving their Medicare number. Always talk with your doctor before you make a decision.

Take a minute to think about WHO is paying; it’s common to think of it as “Medicare pays.” Think of it this way instead: “Who paid? I paid!” You, your spouse, your former employer and other tax payers pay Medicare bills. When Medicare writes a check, it’s the same as you writing a check right out of your checkbook!

If you think a DME business might have broken rules and have details about the incident, or for other senior needs or family caregiver concerns, call Iowa Senior Medicare Patrol at Seneca Area Agency on Aging at (800) 642-6522.