The multi-billion dollar Medicare fraud industry tends to receive a good deal of coverage in the media. But one of the most prevalent types of Medicare fraud, the selling of electric wheelchairs to seniors who may not need them, cheats the senior as well as the taxpayer.
You may have seen the commercials for these chairs that carry such spirited names as the “Rascal” or the “Jazzy.” Ads for these chairs promise Medicare will pick up the tab and that the company will even help you fill out the paperwork. The reason these companies are so eager to take your order is that they receive Medicare reimbursements four times greater than their costs-$4,000 for a chair that costs $1,000.
Often the unsuspecting senior does not actually qualify for a Medicare-reimbursed chair because he or she retains some mobility. They may be told that reimbursement has been declined only after their chairs have been shipped. Or the chairs are reimbursed, but when they arrive, the seniors discover they are too big to use inside their homes. And once Medicare has been charged for one chair, it will not pay for another.