Take It Personally: Why Rampant Medicare Fraud Affects You and Your Family
In 2012, the FBI boasted the arrest of 107 individuals for 452 million dollars in false billing. In 2015, The United States Department of Justice reported a fraud takedown of 243 individuals for 712 million dollars.
And if you look at the June 2016 edition of the AARP Bulletin, you will see the somber mug shot of physician Jacques Roy, facing life in prison for leading a fraud scheme of 375 million in phony charges—the single most expensive home health care fraud in the history of Medicare and Medicaid!
Those sound like some huge numbers, right? So big it seems like the entire Medicare Fraud Strike Force could just sunbathe in the warmth of their victories. We’ve won, after all…
Well…not so much. How about these numbers? 60 billion. 90 billion. 30% of Medicare’s annual spending (180 billion).
The Scope of the Issue
But the hard truth about the scope of Medicare Fraud is this: no one knows. Everyone accepts that it is a staggering amount, but it is hard to pinpoint, mostly because it goes undetected so often. In fact, even Malcolm Sparrow, Harvard professor and health care fraud expert feels uncomfortable putting an exact number on it: “the point is, we don’t know, and we shouldn’t have to guess,” he says in AARP’s Bulletin.
So maybe the strike force should put away the sunscreen and beach towels. They’ve got some work to do.
Why It Matters to You
The sheer, unpunished treachery of this madness is enough to make anyone frustrated, for sure. But beyond the foundational longing for justice that lies within us all, let’s get practical. And—more than that—let’s get personal. Medicare fraud costs you and your family money. If you pay taxes, you are paying for it. If your children pay taxes, they are paying for it as well. Medicare premiums go up? This is part of the reason.
The One Thing You Have in Common With a Fraudster
Now I want to cycle back to Dr. Jacques Roy. According to AARP, when the authorities searched his lakefront house in the Dallas suburbs, they found deposit slips to a bank in the Cayman Islands and a guide to registering yachts there.
Go figure. You do have something in common with a hardened criminal. All those years of saving, planning, and roosting on your nest egg prove it: you both want to retire well.
Some people are just willing to steal from you to do it.
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