Digital medical records have become the favorite fraud outlets for ID theft hackers. Published reports from late last year stated that approximately $47 billion were stolen from questionable Medicare payments.
The Medicare system has become the "single biggest victim" of health care fraud in America, according to Rob Montemorra, chief of the FBI's Health Care Fraud Unit.
The payoff for health care identity fraud is mind boggling. In 2008, criminals pocketed more than $19,000 per incident of health care fraud, which is more than three times the amount gained through overall ID theft, according to Javelin. The cost to the individual victim was nearly $1,200, more than double that of overall ID theft.
Health care identity theft has outgrown all other crimes in the field last year, according to Louis Saccoccio, executive director of the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association (NHCAA).
"Since we all pay taxes, we are all our victims because the cost of this [crime] is coming out of our pockets," according to Montemorra.
Continue to encourage your clients to review their Medicare receipts and be cautious about who they share their medical health and billing information with. Promoting awareness and support about this issue will help strengthen relationships and prevent Medicare ID theft in your community.
Additionally, when Medicare fraud becomes rampant, it’s an easy decision for legislatures to tighten the belts on the Medicare system. It saves the system some money, and looks great on election day. Unfortunately, it means that the true savings are often negligible, yet the additional expense and increased scrutiny for good quality Medicare providers is a hardship.