How to avoid health care fraud

Health care fraud defined
Health care fraud defined © sheff/

At least 3 percent 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.

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With the cost of healthcare continually rising, it's no surprise fraudsters are finding ways to scam people who are trying to get treatment.

The National Care Anti-Fraud Association found that at least 3 percent of the nation's health care spending involves some kind of fraud. One of the most common scams is mail-order drugs. Foreign pharmacies can produce drugs that look the same, but have questionable quality compared to what you should be getting. Make sure to stick with U.S.-based companies when ordering your pharmaceuticals.

Also, be on the lookout for false product claims. Fraudsters prey on people with particularly debilitating illnesses by promising miracle cures like teas or salves. Your physician will know best your viable treatment options.

And be on the lookout for medical identity theft. A crooked individual might assume your identity for some treatments, leaving you to foot the bill. To protect yourself, check your medical records often and understand what you are being billed for.



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