Mom just turned 93 years old. In fact it was her birthday yesterday. I surprised her with an unscheduled visit. She was so very happy to see me and to not have to spend her birthday alone. Once at her home, I noticed a bill from one of her doctors lying on her table. I inquired about why she was seeing a new chiropractor. She proceeded to show me two small red led light boxes she was using, prescribed by the new doctor to decrease the pain in her legs. Mom said she had been going to the doctor for over 3 months and she wanted to surprise me with how much better her balance and walking had become. However, sadly, there was no progress. I felt sad for my mother who has been searching for many years for a cure to her chronic leg pain. But the real surprise came when I looked at her bill from the doctor. The doctor had charged her $3800 for the treatment that claimed to improve her balance and decrease her leg pain. He had charged Medicare for the $3800 and the Government had paid him over $700. He then billed her the balance of $3000. This practice is called “BALANCE BILLING” and is against the law. If the doctor accepts Medicare, he must accept that is total except the 20% Medicare does not cover. When her doctor presented her with the outstanding balance, she said she could not pay that amount, so the doctor suggested that she sign up for “Care Credit” to help her. He told her she could just pay as little as $30 per month and that sounded really good to mom. So mom had been paying 26.99 % APR on the $3000 balance.
Please pay close attention to your aging loved ones especially when it comes to how easily they can get Scammed. This has been another very painful lesson for all of us.