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Special Investigations Unit

FIGHTING HEALTH CARE FRAUD ABOUT HEALTH CARE FRAUD

Health care fraud is committed when someone intentionally submits, or causes someone else to submit, false or misleading information for use in determining the amount of health care benefits payable. That is a crime. Any person convicted of health care fraud faces imprisonment and substantial fines.

Health care fraud could be committed by dishonest health care providers such as physicians, dentists, labs, and medical equipment suppliers or by plan members themselves.

HOW HEALTH CARE FRAUD AFFECTS EVERYONE

Certainly, most health care providers and consumers are honest and ethical. Only a small percentage deliberately engages in acts of fraud. So, if you don't cheat, why should you care about health care fraud? Cheaters raise the cost of health care benefits for everybody.

It is estimated that losses due to fraud add $100 billion to the annual cost of health care in the United States. For most employers, fraud increases the cost of providing benefits to their employees and, therefore, their overall cost of doing business. That translates into higher premiums and out-of-pocket expenses as well as reduced benefits or coverage. Fraud can also impact the quality of care you receive. When dishonest providers put greed ahead of care, proper diagnosis and treatment may be ignored and patients may be put at risk solely to generate higher dollar claims.

EXAMPLES OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FRAUD

  • Billing for services not actually performed.
  • Falsifying a patient's diagnosis to justify tests, surgeries or other procedures that aren't medically necessary.
  • Misrepresenting procedures performed to obtain payment for non-covered services, such as cosmetic surgery.
  • "Upcoding" . billing for a more costly service than the one actually performed.
  • "Unbundling" . billing each stage of a procedure as if it were a separate treatment.
  • Accepting kickbacks for member referrals.
  • Waiving member co-pays or deductibles and over-billing the insurance carrier or benefit plan.

EXAMPLES OF HEALTH CARE MEMBER FRAUD

  • Filing claims for services or medications not received.
  • Forging or altering bills or receipts.
  • Using someone else's coverage or insurance card.

WHAT'S HIP DOING TO STOP HEALTH CARE FRAUD

HIP has established a Special Investigations Unit (SIU) to investigate each instance of possible fraud. The SIU includes a staff of trained professionals who take a look at each allegation. The SIU works closely with all other departments of HIP as well as Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and regulatory bodies. HIP has also implemented a state of the art system produced by IBM. This Fraud and Abuse Management System gives the SIU even greater fraud detection capability.


HOW YOU CAN AVOID AND PREVENT HEALTH CARE FRAUD

  • Ask numerous questions about the services you receive.
  • Fill out, sign, and date one claim form at a time; never sign a blank.
  • Question advertisements or promotions by providers that offer free tests, treatment or services, especially if you are required to provide insurance information.
  • In general, be careful about disclosing your insurance information. Protect your HIP ID card. It represents your benefits.
  • Compare your medical bills and your HIP Explanation of Benefits (EOB) with your records.
  • Report suspected fraud to Special Investigations.

HOW TO REPORT HEALTH CARE FRAUD

  • Simply call the Special Investigations Unit Anti Fraud Hotline toll-free at
    1-888-4KO-FRAUD.
  • Write to us:
    Special Investigation Unit
    55 Water St.
    New York, NY 10041

CLICK ON THESE SITES TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN DO TO FIGHT FRAUD

The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association (NHCAA) represents the cooperative effort of private-sector health insurers and public-sector law enforcement agencies to improve the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of health care fraud. HIP plays a leadership role in this important organization. The NHCAA web site provides information on health care fraud such as:

  • Guidelines to health care fraud
  • Impact of fraud on U.S. health care spending
  • Nature of health care fraud
  • NHCAA educational programs

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Federal agency that administers Medicare, has a web section with information about fraud schemes targeting citizens covered by Medicare. See how HCFA is Fighting Fraud & Abuse.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) web site contains information on various types of health care fraud, with tips on how you can avoid them.

HIP TOLL FREE HOTLINE 1-888-4KO-FRAUD

 
Last Modified 10/27/2010.
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