Health insurers make it easy for scammers to steal millions. Who pays? You.

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by NewsVine_Mariyam, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. NewsVine_Mariyam
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    NewsVine_Mariyam Gold Member

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    Insurers are regarded as defenders of health care dollars, but the case of David Williams shows how they allow costs to rise.

    By Marshall Allen Jul 19, 2019, 7:00am EDT
    Co-published in partnership with ProPublica

    Ever since her 14-year marriage imploded in financial chaos and a protective order, Amy Lankford had kept a wary eye on her ex, David Williams.

    Williams, then 51, with the beefy body of a former wrestler gone slightly to seed, was always working the angles, looking for shortcuts to success and mostly stumbling. During their marriage, Lankford had been forced to work overtime as a physical therapist when his personal training business couldn’t pay his share of the bills.

    So, when Williams gave their three kids iPad Minis for Christmas in 2013, she was immediately suspicious. Where did he get that kind of money? Then one day on her son’s iPad, she noticed numbers next to the green iMessage icon indicating that new text messages were waiting. She clicked.

    What she saw next made her heart pound. Somehow the iPad had become linked to her ex-husband’s personal Apple device and the messages were for him.

    Most of the texts were from people setting up workouts through his personal training business, Get Fit With Dave, which he ran out of his home in Mansfield, Texas, a suburb of Fort Worth. But, oddly, they were also providing their birthdates and the group number of their health insurance plans. The people had health benefits administered by industry giants, including Aetna, Cigna and UnitedHealthcare. They were pleased to hear their health plans would now pay for their fitness workouts.

    Lankford’s mind raced as she scrolled through the messages. It appeared her ex-husband was getting insurance companies to pay for his personal training services. But how could that be possible? Insurance companies pay for care that’s medically necessary, not sessions of dumbbell curls and lunges.

    Insurance companies also only pay for care provided by licensed medical providers, like doctors or nurses. Williams called himself “Dr. Dave” because he had a Ph.D. in kinesiology. But he didn’t have a medical license. He wasn’t qualified to bill insurance companies. But, Lankford could see, he was doing it anyway.

    As Lankford would learn, “Dr. Dave” had wrongfully obtained, with breathtaking ease, federal identification numbers that allowed him to fraudulently bill insurers as a physician for services to about 1,000 people. Then he battered the system with the bluntest of ploys: submit a deluge of out-of-network claims, confident that insurers would blindly approve a healthy percentage of them. Then, if the insurers did object, he gambled that they had scant appetite for a fight.

    By the time the authorities stopped Williams, three years had passed since Lankford had discovered the text messages. In total, records show, he ran the scheme for more than four years, fraudulently billing several of the nation’s top insurance companies — United, Aetna and Cigna — for $25 million and reaping about $4 million in cash.

    Continued here:
    https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2019/7/19/20698355/health-insurance-scam-united-cigna-aetna-southwest
     
  2. harmonica
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    harmonica Gold Member

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    didn't they just arrest a bunch of people for medical insurance scams?
    Feds Make Arrests in $1.2 Billion Medicare Fraud Cases
    lot of scamming out there
    ..I remember back around 1980, I had my hand checked out for broken bones.....the doctor was about to let me go, and give me the bill, when I stated insurance would pay for it....he stopped, looked ''surprised'' and did more testing !!! hahahahahah...it was obvious he was ''scamming'' also
     
  3. whitehall
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    whitehall Diamond Member

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    Ever hear of "wellness" centers? Some insurance companies pay for programs that keep you healthy. My wife is enrolled in a YMCA program paid by her health insurance.
     
  4. Dekster
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    Dekster Gold Member

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    Per procedure billing has gotten a bit excessive.
     

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