Skip to comments.Obamacare Fraud: A How-To Guide [Dems wronly claim the GAO report doesn’t mean an opening for abuse]
Posted on 07/28/2014 3:38:10 AM PDT by markomalley
When the Government Accountability Office reported last week that several of its investigators had successfully used fake identities and incorrect information to sign up for subsidized Obamacare coverage, Democrats reacted with skepticism. They claimed that the report didnt necessarily signal big potential for fraud or abuse.
Representative Sander Levin (D., Mich.) said: There would be no financial windfall, as any government subsidy goes directly to insurance companies and not to the consumer seeking that insurance. In fact, people committing these frauds would be risking severe fines and possibly jail time. And Representative Joseph Crawley, (D., N.Y.) called the report much ado about nothing, adding: What is the ultimate prize for the criminal? Is it a free colonoscopy?
Insurance companies would indeed receive subsidies when applications are falsified, but that doesnt mean the GAOs findings dont suggest numerous opportunities for fraud and abuse. National Review Online reached out to experts on health-care fraud, who described several ways bad actors could game the system and profit.
Any time there is a government program where government money is flowing to someone or something, it can present opportunities for people and entities to abuse it and seek more than they are entitled to, says Wendy Weiss, the former chief of the U.S. Attorneys Office Civil Fraud Section.
Weiss, who now serves as managing director for the Healthcare and Life Sciences, Disputes, Compliance, and Investigations practice at Navigant, a global consulting firm, says that even though this is just an example of the GAO poking the system to see if its working, basically doing a sting operation, to assess the potential for fraud, you have to follow the flow of money to see who is most likely to benefit in order to determine where the potential for fraud lies.
Rebecca Busch, an expert on health-care fraud and the CEO of the Illinois-based auditing and forensic-services firm Medical Business Associates, offered several scenarios in which fraudsters could gain from creating a falsified identity for health coverage.
For example, individuals may create fake identities to access more health coverage than their plans cover, Busch says. People get confused on coverage for all, she says. Theres a whole category of essential health benefits. These are the things that everyone gets but its not a blank check. You only get so much per year.
As an example, Busch cited a real-life example in which one states Medicaid rules covered only four prescriptions a month. But Mom needs five, she says, so how do we do that? Officials learned that people were obtaining additional prescriptions using the identity of a family member. Similar schemes may also occur under Obamacare, she says.
Others, including immigrants who are not legally residing in the United States, may sign up using falsified data to gain coverage theyre not entitled to, Busch says.
And its not just individual consumers who might seek to defraud the system by using falsified information. Busch described a hypothetical small-town pharmacist who creates several false identities, signs them up for health coverage, and then gets prescriptions for narcotics issued to them. He then bills the government for the drugs (profit No. 1) and resells them on the street (profit No. 2). A benefit-plan sponsor could engage in a similar scheme, Busch says, billing the government for services rendered to falsified Obamacare enrollees.
The GAOs findings, though shocking, are only preliminary; a more comprehensive report will probably be released next year. But this news follows another report by the same agency suggesting that HealthCare.gov failed to catch significant inconsistencies for current enrollees. It found 4.3 million applications for coverage in which the information provided didnt match up with other government data, suggesting that some enrollees may be wrongfully receiving subsidies.
How about creating an insurance co. out of thin air, swiping a doctor’s scrip pad (I know someone who did this), writing your own scrips for heavy duty narcotics, setting up the phony IDs, thereby receiving the kickbacks from the Feds and selling the drugs on the street.
If they don’t check out the people applying for subsides, why should we believe they check out the insurance co.? Sounds like a cottage industry in the making.
Late last year and early this year security industry experts made a lot of noise about how wide open to fraud healthcare.gov was.
I remember the experts saying security was not in the basic design of the web site and to try to add security now would almost impossible. Their recommendation was to start over.
I haven’t heard anything about this since. Anybody else?
A phony doctor creates a bunch of phony identifications that sign up for Owebamacare. Lets say 200 of them. They are fake and so is their reported very low income, thus they get free insurance and free Medicaid.
Now the fake doctor files claims for treatment of 100’s of fake patients to both an insurance company, and the federal government.
It’s 100% profit to the fake doctor, he doesn’t have to treat the fake patients, or have an office or equipment.
As a bonus he can sign them all up for food stamps and file fake tax returns and collect huge ‘earned income credit’ checks for them.
The government pays for all of it, so the insurance company would have no reason to check it out. They get the premium checks from the government, and the doctor has hundreds of satisfied patients!