No one knows exactly how lucrative, but the estimates are eye poppers.
Minnesota Department of Human Services commissioner Lucinda Jesson says she sees estimates that anywhere from three to ten percent of the country’s health care payments are fraudulent.
Apply that to Minnesota’s $6.7 billion Medicaid expenditures, and you come up with a range of between $200 million to more than $600 million in taxpayer dollars siphoned off by the fraudsters.
Minneapolis attorney Neil Thompson, a pharmacist who blew the whistle on alleged Medicaid fraud while employed by Walgreens, guesses that most of the fraud is committed by otherwise legitimate businesses.
Yes, Thompson admits the Medicaid billing system is confusing. But he asserts the companies use that as cover when the government catches them with their hand in the till.
There’s a state hotline people can call with tips on suspected fraud. The state gets about 300 a month, and about a fourth draw the interest of investigators.