Recently, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the arrests of 243 people around the country as a result of numerous investigations by the FBI, Medicare Fraud Units and other law enforcement agencies regarding Medicare and Medicaid fraud throughout the country. Health care fraud costs taxpayers tens of billions of dollars each year as doctors, nurses, pharmacy owners and just plain criminals cheat the health care system by billing for medical equipment that isn’t provided or needed, services that never were performed and, in one of the fastest growing areas of health care fraud billing for drugs that are never dispensed.
As for us as individuals, the question becomes what can we do both to protect ourselves from health care fraud and to also help keep the system itself more secure. One of the most important things all of us can do is to carefully read the Explanation of Benefits form we receive from our medical insurers including Medicare that detail payments by our health care insurers. Too many people merely look at the bottom right corner to merely see if anything must be paid out of pocket and fail to notice early evidence of insurance fraud. Also never sign a blank insurance claim form or give blanket authorization to a medical care provider to bill for services rendered. There are no free lunches or medical equipment for that matter so if you are told that you can receive free medical equipment merely by providing your Medicare number or insurance information you should be wary.