Medical insurance targeted in false billing scheme

You may not think your medical insurance card is worth much, but if it gets into the wrong hands it could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Malentha Robinson-Taylor, an office manager at a dentist's office, knew the health care billing system well. So well, she orchestrated a false billing scheme using insurance information from several people.

"She recruited them from churches, you know, outdoor events at the community and just asked them for their private information, Social Security number, date of birth, and their insurance card and just asked if they wanted to make some money," said U.S. Postal Inspector L. Paul King.

At one point, one of the targeted insurance companies became suspicious.

"She submitted the fraudulent claims, the people never went to the dentist office, and the insurance company contacted the dentist who said 'these people are not patients of mine, I don't know what you're talking about,'" King explained.

Robinson-Taylor, along with her husband Reginald Robinson-Taylor, recruited 22 people and scammed insurers out of more than $360,000.

Postal inspectors say the people involved in the scheme were just interested in the money.

"They didn't really think they were hurting anybody, so they got checks in the mail, they cashed them, and gave the office manager 50 percent of the proceeds."

Malentha Tayor-Robinson was sentenced to more than four years in prison. Her husband got almost two years.

The best advice is to never give your insurance information to other people.

"Most medical providers now don't require it because they have the insurance number off your card, that identifies you as the person who's receiving the treatment," King said.

You should also closely examine your explanation of benefits statements, and compare the dates and services to their actual medical and dental appointments.

Health care fraud costs American taxpayers more than $80 billion a year, according to federal officials.

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