An alarming fact is that health care fraud costs the United States tens of billions of dollars each year. The FBI is involved in a project known as the Healthcare Fraud Prevention Partnership, which is an effort to exchange facts and information between the public and private sectors to reduce the likelihood of health care fraud-related events. If somebody is a beneficiary, they want to understand the protections that are offered to them so that vital information is not stolen out from under their noses.
There are a variety of methods regarding health care fraud that is more common than most in the system. Many criminals will work to obtain patient’s medical information so that they can then receive reimbursement for services and goods. Here are some of the most common types you will see:
- A criminal obtaining identities when the criminal encourages a beneficiary to visit a specific location and “sign in” with important information
- Obtaining patient information through a “free screening” at a health fair
- Purchasing the information from others involved in the scheme
Many people who are beneficiaries are unaware of how they can protect themselves from these horrible acts that wreak havoc in their lives. For one, one of the most effective ways to find out if insurance information is being used without your knowledge is to take a look at the explanation of benefits that arrive to your insurance company each time there is a charge of some sort. By viewing these forms, somebody can identify if there were services used that they took no part in. It is also well-documented so that they can then speak to the insurance company about the discrepancies. There are many other ways to safeguard and prevent against health care fraud: safeguarding insurance cards and making sure there is a legitimate reason to provide information to others, being aware of gifts from medical providers, checking to see that you were sent the right medical items, and being aware of your surroundings in medical facilities at all times.
Charged With Health Care Fraud
If you were charged with health care fraud you must ask yourself this: Was it a mistake or did you really commit the crime that you were charged with? Sometimes, fraud actually ends up being an awful mistake gone wrong. Fraud can end up being a mistake, simple omission, or an improper payment. To commit fraud, you as the defendant must have purposely engaged in a plan and provided falsehoods to another person for your own financial benefit.
For instance, we can take a real-life case for example. A Louisiana woman was once convicted of healthcare fraud when her two companies first employed unlicensed social workers. They then visited beneficiaries of Medicare and performed services they were not supposed to. She then submitted false claims to Medicare and claimed her social workers were actually licensed. She was sentenced to 37 months in prison and had to pay $1 million in restitution.
For many who indulge in health care fraud, this is the unfortunate end. Punishment for health care fraud will usually start somewhere around five years in federal prison with fines that are thousands of dollars. Depending on the amount stolen from the government, these fines can increase. This is why, if you have engaged in these illegal activities, it is always a good idea to have a defense attorney on your side. Call us today at The Law Office of Peter Blair for more information on your case.