I had a final dissolution of my relationship with Lincare on 05/24/2022. I had been trying to end my relationship with them since 01/01/2021 but since they engage in nefarious and predatory business practices it took me well over sixteen months of phone calls and mail correspondence to get them to stop sending me CPAP equipment I didn’t ask for.
- Any attempts to get them to stop were ignored.
- Any time I would call in and tell them to stop they would “put in the order” and the following month I would get more supplies.
- Lincare makes it very difficult for you to navigate their horrific call tree.
- They have no online interface in order to adjust orders. Only a payment portal.
- They will not let you change your orders without a note from a doctor. Which is absolutely ridiculous. It’s my prerogative what equipment I use, not the doctor’s.
- They refuse to let you just mail things back to them without first going through a convoluted process to obtain a special mailing sticker from them.
- Even after sending back supplies you will get MORE supplies you didn’t ask for!
- Lincare hides behind the guise of “We want to make sure you are changing your accessories frequently for your own health” when in reality it’s actually insurance fraud. Then when you don’t have insurance anymore, they are committing the fraud directly against you.
Why bring this up now?
I have been wanting to write this for a long time now, just haven’t had the time to dedicate to it. What prompted me is that now there is a class action lawsuit that is being settled against Lincare for having a data breach back on 09/06/2022. A surprise to absolutely no one I would imagine. I got a mailer from the Florida courts recently about this, like around 01/15/2024. If you’d like to read about it do so here: https://www.lincaresettlement.com/
Over inflated pricing practices
As is with the rest of the American medical system, prices are inflated grotesquely so that the insurance coverage will give the company fraction of what was requested. I fully understand this practice as I have been so unfortunate to be exposed to the medical system more than I want to be. I see a lot of doctors because I have multiple manufacturing defects. I was dealt a bad hand of cards as it were. Therefore, once you get thrown into this stupid system you start to learn the game. This game is STUPID and is one of the main contributors as to why the American medical system is one of the worst. People can be prideful about America, but being proud of what we consider affordable health care is not one of those things. Lincare is not helping. Feast your eyes on what they consider normal billing.
Anyone who uses a CPAP or an APAP can look at these numbers and say “Wow those are outrageous prices” and it’s because they are absolutely price gouging the insurance company. Please don’t get me wrong, I will never shed a tear for any soulless insurance company, but this hurts everyone. This hurts the insurance company and ultimately it hurts the patient. If you observe from the highlighted portion and track your eyes on one row to the final right column you will see I STILL had to pay for my supplies even AFTER the insurance discounts.
This is a text version of the above invoice along with some pricing analysis versus a third party vendor.
|Billed Mark Up
|Allowed Mark Up
|Full face mask
|Full face mask cushion
There are several things that bother me about this bill and it’s not just the pricing with the criminal levels of mark up. They somehow managed to send me two of what I actually needed for almost everything.
- The Full face mask kit comes with everything you need for your face mask. This includes the frame, head gear and cushion. However, they managed to send me the separate Headgear and Cushion because 🤷♂️.
- The tubing is stupidly marked up, there is no excuse for this it’s a fucking plastic tube with rubber boot ends.
- They send you two filters. They filters are made out of some kind of blended plastic/fabric material. In other words not worth twenty seven plus dollars.
The replacement schedule
This is not a post about CPAP care and maintenance, but for sake of clarity I am going to briefly describe that here. You need to clean your equipment every week ideally. You need to replace your equipment and accessories on a schedule that is determined by the MANUFACTURER not LINCARE.
- Once again, Lincare hides behind the idea of safety to send you too much equipment which is a blatant lie so that they can bill you and your insurance for more equipment than you need.
- The manufacturer dictates when you should replace your equipment, they have the replacement schedule on their own website. The schedule is far more relaxed than what Lincare believes is required.
- Lincare sending you two of everything is just a way to squeeze more money out of everyone.
- You don’t have a say in this because when questioned they will hide behind safety again and say “You could get a respiratory infection if you don’t change out your equipment more often.”
- This is categorically false. Since I rely heavily on this equipment to stay alive while sleeping I can tell you from years of use that you can follow the manufacturers schedule and you will not get a respiratory infection as Lincare likes to claim.
- You WILL get a respiratory infection if you are not cleaning your equipment at least twice a week, not using distilled water for the humidity chamber and/or not regularly inspecting your equipment for any hint of mold growth. If you find any defects in your equipment, including but not limited to weird shit growing in your tubes, then you need to discard it immediately and replace it.
- I have gotten a respiratory infection before from not cleaning my equipment properly, I learned my lesson.
- There is ABSOLUTELY no reason to replace your equipment at the frequency that Lincare would like you to. They DO NOT CARE about your health! They only care about that beautiful markup so they can keep siphoning money out of insurance and patients.
The break up
As is with all things life, when it rains it pours. I was in the middle of changing jobs and in typical American fashion this means I would be losing my health insurance until I got new health insurance from my new employer (this is a seriously flawed system). I was so disgusted with Lincare’s business practices I decided I would rather pay for this stuff out of pocket on my own schedule than leave it up to these frauds to take care of it for me. I returned their stupid CPAP machine which they were also charging a king’s ransom for and I obtained proof from their office that I returned the equipment on 05/21/2021. One would think if you don’t have the machine anymore, then you cannot keep receiving supplies to use it with. Well that assumption was wrong. Lincare, in their fraud corrupted brain think it’s perfectly okay to keep sending me equipment for a machine I don’t even have anymore. This is literally fraud.
Below is an excerpt from a final longer form letter I sent to Lincare on several occasions:
- 01/01/2021 – First letter
- 01/05/2021 – Second letter
- 01/24/2021 – Third and final letter
The text has been modified to omit sensitive information.
|I returned your CPAP back to your facility and I have a receipt to prove it.
|Invoice 01 received
|Invoice 02 received – Being charged for supplies I returned on 05/21 and is no longer in my possession.
|30-day late notice
|I called your billing department and told them this was the last bill I was paying. My account was zeroed out. I told them to cancel all services moving forward.
|Invoice 03 received – Being charged for supplies I said I didn’t want on 07/09
|Invoice 04 received – Being charged for supplies I said I didn’t want on 07/09
|I called your billing department and reiterated my conversation from 07/09, explaining again that I returned the supplies on 05/21 and I will not be paying for anything passed 07/09 because I requested service be terminated. I was told they ended my service – this is the second time I was told my service was ended. I was also told that my bills were deleted.
|I called your billing department AGAIN to reiterate my conversation from 07/09 and 11/05 explaining AGAIN that I returned the supplies on 05/21 and I will not be paying for anything passed 07/09 because I requested service be terminated. I was told my service was ended twice which apparently is a lie because I keep getting packages from Lincare. Then I am being told that my bill jumped from 43.63 to 93.70 to finally 468.55 because insurance refuses to pay. Lincare can’t seem to take a hint that no one wants to pay for this service anymore.
|I spoke with United Health Care (UHC) to get their help to make Lincare understand that what they are doing is unfair. Like I have said many times already, you are sending me supplies I don’t want and then asking me to pay for it. That’s not how the world works. I spoke to someone from your shipping department, and we got disconnected.
|I got a call back from the Lincare shipping department and we worked out that I can ship back the unwanted supplies. I was told that I would receive a shipping label in a week via Email.
|I called back to inquire about said shipping label. It has been 7 business days. I was told it should show up tomorrow (12/21)
|I got ANOTHER SHIPMENT UPS tracking number 1ZR**************2 – I also did not get my shipping label.
|I called to complain about getting yet another package and still no shipping label. I was told they are busy and I might get it on 12/30.
|It has been 15 business days, still no shipping label.
|It is now the new year and I am writing this letter to inform you I will not be paying any bill until I get that shipping label and I see my bill reduced to 218.17 as I was told would happen by returning the supplies.
|Called on a Monday and the call center was closed for New Years.
|I have to work for a living so I couldn’t call today. My job shouldn’t be calling Lincare every day.
|Called to inquire about my shipping label, it has been 19 business days still no shipping label. The first person I was speaking to indicated that my shipping label was not sent to me. He put me on hold and when he returned he sounded distant on the phone then hung up on me. I have experienced hang ups frequently calling your call centers. Not cool. Second person I spoke to tried to reconnect me with the original person and I just ended up in the queue. Can your employees not fathom to call customers back when disconnected? Third person had a terrible connection. They claimed the shipping label had been sent to me and I checked my spam folder and inbox, no email. I don’t believe your person. They supposedly setup what he called a “call tag”. This package where this letter should be picked up by UPS. I am preparing the package with three packages worth of supplies, and I expect to be reimbursed for all the supplies. My invoice will be rebalanced, and I will be issued a letter stating that my invoice has been rebalanced and I will not receive any more packages from Lincare.
|It has been seven days since I put my package outside for UPS pick up. I called again and the person I spoke to says they are going to “Resubmit the return sticker to UPS it should have been picked up by now.” Quoted seven to ten business days. The return label will be put in my mailbox, I used the return label and then I will place the box outside like I did before. UPS makes three attempts to pick up the box for return.
|I got the call tag for Lincare. It was not put in my mailbox; it was placed on top of a unrelated package that was delivered to my residence. I took the tag and immediately placed it on the return box and placed the box outside.
|No one ever came to get the box as instructed. I dropped off the box at UPS store location myself, even though I was instructed not to do so for whatever reason. I have included the drop off receipt as proof.
|The package has been delivered, I downloaded proof of this from UPS’s website.
No one should have to work this hard to stop a service. On several occasions these dingbats called me and we had a conversation that went something like this:
- Agent: “Your insurance has been cancelled do you have new insurance?”
- Me: “Yes, but I am not telling you who it is or my membership number.”
- Agent: “This is going to be very expensive if you don’t just use insurance.”
- Me: “I don’t plan on paying. I have told Lincare repeatedly I want to cancel my services. Stop sending me supplies for a machine I don’t have anymore.”
- Agent: “You are better off just giving us your insurance information and then try canceling.”
- Me: “No. Just cancel my service which I have already made abundantly clear I want you to do. I am not going to allow you to bill my insurance company.”
Towards the end there I had to threaten to consult a lawyer for fraudulent practices and that’s when they finally seemed to understand that no I don’t want their stupid services anymore. This combined with the fact that I was building a case against them with letters of my own backed by certified mail might have given them a clue that I was being very serious about this and I am not a push over.
The end of the nightmare vendor
This is the demand I gave Lincare as a requisite in order for me to satisfy my remaining balance.
When they finally cooperated and took back all of the supplies I did not request, they adjusted my balance to reflect the returns. I then demanded to them in writing that they provide me with a final letter indicating that I have a ZERO balance.
I have a feeling at this point they may have been guided by their legal department to comply because I do have enough evidence that I am not even sharing proving they are committing fraud.
Lincare is one of the single worst companies I have ever dealt with. They are the Bonzai Buddy executable of the real world where you need to threaten credible legal action to get them to STOP SENDING YOU SUPPLIES YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE THE MACHINE FOR ANYMORE. I implore everyone to NEVER use Lincare EVER.
You can do the following IF it works for your financial situation:
- Purchase the Machine of your choice OUTRIGHT from a vendor such as Direct Home Medical (this is not an endorsement just an example vendor that I use and know).
- Purchasing a CPAP machine requires a prescription from a Pulmonologist or equivalent doctor.
- Visit your manufacturer’s website and get the recommended frequency for changing parts.
- Watch YouTube videos on how to take care of your equipment.
- Make a schedule for yourself, use a sticky note on your bed side that you can check weekly to make sure you know when it’s time to change your supplies.
- Perform proper inventory for your supplies.
- Buy as much or as little as you need of your supplies.
- I try to have at least one extra of everything.
Your start up cost for your machine will run you about 900 to 1,000 dollars, but this machine will last you for five years (or whatever is the recommendation of your manufacturer).
You will spend 200 to 300 dollars on parts and supplies like twice a year. It’s not that bad.
YOU are in control of what brand you buy and what price you pay. Sometimes you can take advantage of sales.
DO NOT think you MUST use insurance for this, especially if you are still paying even after the allowed insurance amount. It may be cheaper to use insurance, but just make sure whatever vendor you use will not disrespect you like Lincare did me.
Have you been screwed over by Lincare?
If you or someone you know have been screwed over by Lincare, I strongly recommend you take your evidence and go visit the FTC’s website and submit a fraud report. As an American citizen, you pay taxes, put your government to work. You will not receive a follow up from them, but they will share your report with other government agencies. If enough people complain I am sure something will come of it. Shady business practices is not legal and those businesses need to be punched in the face with some justice.
The above screenshot is from when I submitted my report to the FTC after I got my final letter of zero balance. I’m putting my money where my mouth is.
Featured image for this article is a composite between the Lindcare logo and an Icon from Satan icons created by Freepik – Flaticon.