Fraud­sters ramp it up

Modern Healthcare - - Outliers -

Re­gard­less of what has hap­pened to the Amer­i­can econ­omy in gen­eral, en­trepreneurs in at least one in­dus­try can al­ways be re­lied upon to de­liver in­no­va­tion. Out­liers is of course re­fer­ring to crooks and thiev­ery.

Take health in­surance fraud. This is the age-old trick in which a con­man per­suades the sucker to buy a piece of paper on which a “pol­icy” is printed that would guar­an­tee “health in­surance” should the vic­tim ever get sick, when, in fact, the paper is no more valu­able than that “deed” to the Brook­lyn Bridge that Out­liers bought last year.

In re­cent years scam­mers have taken to get­ting not just cash or checks for scam in­surance poli­cies, but credit card in­for­ma­tion, so that the mark can sup­ply reg­u­lar fraud­u­lent pay­ments through the ef­fi­cient iden­tity-theft sys­tem that has been set up by banks and debit card com­pa­nies.

And now be­hold the scam­mers’ lat­est fi­nan­cial prod­uct: Oba­maCare, in which thieves prey on peo­ple who be­lieve that the health re­form act in­cludes a man­date to buy an in­surance plan named af­ter the pres­i­dent.

“Oba­maCare scams be­gan sur­fac­ing al­most as soon as the ink was dry on the health re­form law,” says Jim Quig­gle, spokesman for the Coali­tion Against In­surance Fraud. “Crooks thrive on con­fu­sion, and grow­ing num­bers of swindlers are ped­dling seem­ingly fake cov­er­age un­der the guise that it’s re­quired by health­care re­form.”

Data from the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of In­surance Com­mis­sion­ers show that the num­ber of ver­i­fied com­plaints of cases of this kind of fraud ap­pears to be on the rise in 2010.

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