New Fraud Alert ~ Beware of Offers for “Free” Back Braces Covered by Medicare

New Fraud Alert ~ Beware of Offers for “Free” Back Braces Covered by Medicare

Scammers are broadcasting TV commercials or contacting Medicare beneficiaries by phone to offer “free or low cost” knee, back and other orthotic braces. If you disclose your Medicare number, you can end up with boxes of unwanted and unneeded braces, a compromised Medicare number, and potential denied Medicare claims if you require such braces in the future. Medicare only pays for durable medical equipment based on medical necessity — meaning it’s an item you really need for your medical condition – and requires prescription from your doctor, not a doctor you’ve never met or a doctor on TV.


We’ve developed this new fraud alert to provide tips on how to protect yourself from this type of fraud, how to detect it and where to report it.

Please share far and wide. Report any such suspected fraud to our California Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) at 1-855-613-7080.


This alert is downloadable as a PDF and is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Armenian and Farsi.


Thank you for your help in spreading the word and preventing and detecting these scams.


Download the fraud alert here.

Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.