FLORIDA: Health Care Fraud Task Force Created
With the success of Florida's "crackdown" on Medicare and Medicaid fraud, many white collar criminals are turning their attention to scamming private insurance companies and HMOs. William Mahon, executive director of the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association said, "Health care fraud is robbing us of billions of dollars and health insurance benefits. We're seeing health care fraud at unprecedented levels." While Florida's anti-fraud efforts have "saved taxpayers $192 million in the past two years," private companies "are seeing the identical scams," said Ron Poindexter, director of the Division of Insurance Fraud. According to the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, officials claim fraud "costs each Florida family an additional $1,066 a year in insurance premiums."
In response, Florida officials Wednesday launched the Multi-Agency Health Insurance Task Force, which will team state insurance regulators with law enforcement officials to fight fraud. In addition to enforcement, the group will meet quarterly to "plug some of the obvious holes" in health care regulation. For example, Poindexter said, "You don't need to be licensed to own or operate a health care clinic in Florida." State Insurance Commissioner Bill Nelson said a state fraud hotline "has logged 2,200 complaints" (Nitkin, 6/24).