N.Y. cracks down on doctor insurance fraud

March 10, 2012 at 1:21 AM
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ALBANY, N.Y., March 10 (UPI) -- New York issued a regulation that will enable it to ban doctors who engage in fraudulent and deceptive practices as part of its no-fault (insurance) system.

The state's Department of Financial Services identified 135 medical providers whose billing practices raised concerns regarding possible no-fault fraud. Letters are being sent to all 135 demanding information, and failure to answer might automatically lead to the medical provider being banned from the no-fault system, officials said.

"The state has no tolerance for medical providers or doctors ripping off the system," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. "This affects all New Yorkers because we all pay the consequences with higher insurance premiums, and that's why I asked the Department of Financial Services to take this action."

The healthcare providers were directed to complete and return the form within 14 days. The state agency will use the answers to investigate the providers' no-fault insurance billing practices and determine whether the providers are the true owners and operators of their businesses, insurance officials said.

"Rather than caring for victims of auto accidents, these doctors and other healthcare providers engage in scams, bilking millions of dollars from insurance companies each year," said Benjamin M. Lawsky, financial services superintendent. "Their unlawful schemes are also directly responsible for driving up insurance premiums for everyone."

The investigation found evidence of doctors and other medical practitioners providing unnecessary treatment to car accident victims as well as doctors "renting" their tax ID number to fraudulent medical practices that submit fake bills to insurance companies, Lawsky said.

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