Medicare fraud rings to the tune of $65 billion each year. It is difficult to imagine this number and to imagine any type of service or business could operate while having this much money stolen from them each year. But one of the benefits of the new health care law that has perhaps not garnered enough attention (politicians love talking about all the problems with it) is the fact that there is now a National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association and Medicare Strike Force.
The bad guys buy wheelchairs for people who don't need them and pocket the money and garner approval for medical services via doctors who also will bill for services that do not take place. Medical equipment has traditionally been an attractive platform for the Medicare fraud along with the home care certifications by medical skilled Medicare agencies. The Wall Street Journal also did an investigative report showcasing Medicare payments were rather generous for home health agencies with a bonus payout of $2,000 for an additional R.N. visit.
Before lamenting the costs of Medicare, perhaps the first focus by politicians should be on eliminating the fraud - just as any private sector business, especially public companies, would immediately move to fix fraud that was robbing them of $1 billion per year. It is also important the reimbursement rates are fair and not inflated for services such as medical equipment.
This is one positive aspect of the new health care law and let's hope that no matter who is leading the country, this focus on eliminating Medicare fraud will remain.
Seniors and their caregivers should be mindful of reviewing medical bills and making sure they are purchasing medical equipment from trusted resources. It is also important to be wary of telephone solicitations and anyone who claims they will process the paperwork for you. Eliminating Medicare and Medicaid fraud will take the efforts of everyone, including seniors who benefit from these programs.
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