Booster Shots

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For fraudsters, Medicare provides a tempting target

December 16, 2009 | 11:30 am
What do Tiger Woods and Medicare have in common? Neither of them needs any more bad press right now.

Yet that's exactly what the healthcare system got when federal agents nabbed 26 people in Florida, New York and Michigan on Tuesday on suspicion of committing a collective $61 million in Medicare fraud. The raid comes as Congress is wrestling with healthcare reform. The crimes took many forms. Dr. Fred Dweck of Miami, along with 14 colleagues, was accused of referring nearly 1,300 Medicare patients for expensive and unnecessary treatments. Suspects in Detroit found patients who pretended to be sick to justify costly testing. 

The scary part about Medicare fraud isn’t its $60-billion price tag; it's that it can take advantage of the sick and elderly, who may not be best equipped to defend themselves against it.

If you want to know what the warning signs are, here's some info from the FBI on spotting all kinds of scamminess. Scroll down for Medicare. Here's another article on protecting yourself (or a loved one) and how to report fraud if you encounter it.

— Amina Khan