Health insurance fraud is a quiet crime — no blaring sirens or masked gunmen. The only victims are the American taxpayers, and most of us don’t even realize we are being ripped off, say, by a provider billing for services that were never rendered.
Technically, fraud is any intentional deception or misrepresentation made to result in some unauthorized benefit. Realistically, it is expensive. According to the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, 3% to 10% of all dollars spent on health care is lost to fraud. Highmark’s claim expenditure for 2014 was $19 billion, so our estimated loss to fraud that year was $570 million to $1.9 billion.
Equally troubling are health care waste and health insurance abuse. Health care waste occurs when information is provided to a health insurance company that results in higher payments than the person or business is entitled to receive. One example is overutilization of services: if a provider prescribed all patients to receive an X-ray every time they have an appointment.
Health insurance abuse occurs when there isn’t any intent to deceive for monetary gain (which is fraud), but there is instead overutilization and/or inefficient use of resources. An example is billing improper codes or billing services as separate that should be bundled under the same code. The result can lead to higher health insurance premiums or greater government spending.
Financial Investigations and Provider Review
We are proactive in investigating and detecting potential health care fraud, waste, and abuse. Our Financial Investigations and Provider Review (FIPR) unit was created to investigate all cases of fraud, waste, and abuse that impact us financially or impact the health and welfare of our members.
FIPR supports our company’s mission of providing affordable, quality health care by ensuring that provider reimbursements are appropriate and by investigating and resolving suspected incidents of insurance fraud, waste, or abuse externally or internally. FIPR accomplishes this by deploying a variety of techniques:
Utilizing data analysis to identify aberrant claims
Applying claim coding reviews and other investigative techniques to assess the appropriateness of provider payments
Pursuing recoveries as necessary
Successful fraud prevention requires the identification, investigation, and resolution of potential fraud occurrences by means of the following:
Fraud referrals from members, employees, and providers
Active relationships with law enforcement personnel who receive information from FIPR to support criminal investigations
Continual analysis of health care claim patterns
Investigation of red flags like high claim utilization on a given day or provider billings that greatly exceed the normal billing pattern of comparable providers
Types of Fraud Investigations
Here are some of the types of fraud we pursue actively and examples of each.
Provider Fraud: Billing for services not provided or billing for a more costly service than one performed, billing each stage of a procedure as it was separate, issuing kickbacks, billing for non-covered services or making a false diagnosis, setting up phony clinics to generate false claims
Subscriber Fraud: Allowing someone else to use your insurance card, using an insurance card that has been canceled, placing ineligible dependents on your plan, asking a provider to falsify a report to receive a non-covered procedure, asking a provider to waive a copayment, forging receipts to get reimbursement from the insurer
Pharmacy Fraud: Misrepresenting information on an enrollment application, placing ineligible dependents on your plan
Group Fraud: Ghost employees or nonexistent employees, subscribers who are not employees, part-time employees, ineligible dependents
All references to “Highmark” in this document are references to the Highmark company that is providing the member’s health benefits or health benefit administration and/or to one or more of its affiliated Blue companies. This website is operated by Highmark, Inc. and is not the Health Insurance Marketplace website. It also does not display all Qualified Health Plans available through the Health Insurance Marketplace website. To see all available Qualified Health Plan options, go to the Health Insurance Marketplace website at HealthCare.gov.
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield or Highmark Blue Shield are Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO, and/or Part D plans with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in these plans depends on contract renewal. ®Blue Cross, Blue Shield and the Cross and Shield symbols are registered service marks of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. Benefits and/or benefit administration may be provided by or through the following entities, which are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association: Western and Northeastern PA: Highmark Inc. d/b/a Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Highmark Choice Company, Highmark Health Insurance Company, Highmark Coverage Advantage Inc., Highmark Benefits Group Inc., First Priority Health, First Priority Life or Highmark Senior Health Company. Central and Southeastern PA: Highmark Inc. d/b/a Highmark Blue Shield, Highmark Benefits Group Inc., Highmark Health Insurance Company, Highmark Choice Company or Highmark Senior Health Company. PA: Your plan may not cover all your health care expenses. Read your plan materials carefully to determine which health care services are covered. For more information, call the number on the back of your member ID card or, if not a member, call 866-459-4418. Delaware: Highmark BCBSD Inc. d/b/a Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. West Virginia: Highmark West Virginia Inc. d/b/a Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Highmark Health Insurance Company or Highmark Senior Solutions Company. Visit our website to view the Access Plan required by the Health Benefit Plan Network Access and Adequacy Act. You may also request a copy by contacting us at the number on the back of your ID card. Western NY: Highmark Western and Northeastern New York Inc. d/b/a Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. Northeastern NY: Highmark Western and Northeastern New York Inc. d/b/a Highmark Blue Shield.
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