Late last year, Daryl Jackson’s wife was at a routine checkup when her doctor noticed something unusual with her lungs.
“He suggested it might not be a bad idea to get an oxygen machine, just in case,” Jackson said.
Jackson said he was told his insurance would cover the cost of the machine, so he agreed to it — and a few days later, it was delivered to his home by medical equipment supplier Lincare.
Jackson said it never had to be used, but they kept the machine in the home. Then, a few weeks later, they got a bill in the mail charging more than $500 for the unused equipment.
“I called them and asked them about it, and they said that the insurance no longer took care of any more of it. That’s what we owe for the machine,” Jackson said. “I told them, I said, ‘We can’t afford it and she doesn’t really need it, so would you come out and pick it up?'”
Jackson said Lincare told him someone would be there in a week to pick up the machine, but a few weeks went by and nobody showed. He called again.
“Well, they finally did come out and get it, took the machine back,” Jackson said.
But even after Lincare picked up the machine, Jackson said he was still billed for it in the weeks and months that followed, and he can’t afford to pay.
“She gets social security, I get social security. That’s it. We have no other income,” he said.
Jackson said he called Lincare — more than once — but couldn’t get through. When he did, couldn’t get an answer, so he called Better Call 4.
Better Call 4 called and emailed Lincare — over and over. Eventually, we got through and talked with a representative who said it is policy that once an oxygen machine is delivered to a customer’s home, they will be billed, regardless of whether it is used.
As for why Jackson’s insurance didn’t cover the cost, Better Call 4 was told patient information could not be shared.
Jackson said because he has been unable to pay, Lincare has threatened to turn his debt over to a collection agency. Better Call 4 reached out to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to see if anything can be done, and a spokesperson said to have Jackson contact the office directly.
Better Call 4 also passed along the complaint to the Attorney General’s Office in Florida, where Lincare is based.