How to Avoid Health Care Fraud
At least 3% of the money spent on health care each year in the U.S. involves some type of fraud. While that may not sound like much, the total is a staggering $68 billion a year, according to a 2008 report from the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines health care fraud as scams pertaining to "products that claim to prevent, treat or cure diseases or other health conditions, but are not proven safe and effective for those uses." Unfortunately, consumers who are sick and holding out hope for a cure or lower-cost treatment are prime targets for unscrupulous scammers looking to capitalize on someone else's misfortunes. Awareness of the cons can help prevent consumers from becoming victims. Read on to learn about the various forms of health care fraud and how to avoid becoming a victim.
Dr. Deborah C. Peel, a physician and founder of the nonprofit Patient Privacy Rights, says patients who buy drugs through mail-order companies could be rolling the dice with their health. Peel says there's a high probability in many cases that these drugs are counterfeit.
"And you don't ever know because the fraudulent tablets look just like the real ones," says Peel. Peel says ordering from companies that specialize in mail-order sales that are not affiliated with a legitimate insurance company, especially from foreign countries, can be very risky. Not only could the...