Organized Crime Attacks Medicare

Organized crime rings who normally deal in drugs, prostitution, and extortion are trying a new venture:  Medicare and Medicaid insurance fraud.  Identity theft plays a central role as scammers steal the identities of both doctors (to setup fake clinics) and patients (to bill the government).  These ethnic organized crime groups often target poor, elderly or otherwise disadvantaged folks who rely on government aid.  When offered a token payout (usually $100 or less) to come in for “treatment” these individuals comply – but rarely receive any sort of medical care even if they truly need it.  CNN posted this article about the problem recently.  How big is the problem?  This press release from the Office of the Inspector General for Health and Human Services indicates that it’s owed $2.4 billion for the first HALF of the fiscal year 2009.

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