A doctor’s mission is to provide top medical services to all their patients, in order to improve their health. Most doctors are honest people who genuinely care for their patient’s health, but there are also doctors who turn into fraudsters, taking advantage of their position.
Health care fraud is not only about money; it is also about people’s health. There are major health risks involved in these schemes, which make 37% of all Americans state health care fraud as their biggest concern. Doctors have access to both the patient’s sensitive information and know their personal situation, which enables them to sell those things, get credits in their name and conduct many more illegal activities.
Most common health frauds
There are many health care fraud types out there, but the most common ones are:
- Invoicing services that were not delivered
- Billing a non-covered service as a covered one
- Waiving deductibles and copayments
- Reporting false interventions, which never took place
- False prescription of drugs
From all the above, the most common fraud is invoicing services that were not delivered. The doctor claims money for expensive procedures, which their patient never needed. This is a major problem, because the government is going to support expensive procedures for people who don’t need them, while those who do need them might not get the chance to benefit from them.
Another popular scheme is giving the patient experimental treatment, which is not supported by the government, but filing claims for a classic treatment, which is funded.
Protect yourself from healthcare fraud
While you can’t prevent medical fraud, you can take a number of steps to protect yourself as much as possible. Here are the things you can do to avoid becoming a victim of health care fraud.
Only visit your personal doctor for medical help – visiting other doctors might increase your risk of becoming the victim of fraud. Your personal doctor should be the only medical professional to have access to your medical history.
If you are asked to buy something by a person saying they represent Medicare, just refuse and report the incident. Medicare is not selling things.
Always check your healthcare billing statement carefully. If you spot an intervention you never had or a service you never got from your doctor, report it as soon as possible.
Don’t buy drugs from unknown sources or from people who claim the drugs cure all illnesses. Only buy drugs prescribed by your doctor, as they are the only one who knows what pills you need and when.
Never share your social security number to anyone.
We all pay for the consequences of health care fraud, but some people pay with their own health or worse, their life. This is why preventing and protecting you from fraud so important, both on short term and long term.
If you suspect you are the victim of a fraud, you can report it to the authorities and contact a health care fraud attorney to represent you in court, if needed.