If you were any where near a newspaper today, I am confident you read an article about Medicare fraud. This time, dead doctors were paid for services and supplies. Yes, you read that right.

How does this happen?

When you and I go to the Doctor, services are rendered, co-pay is collected, and the rest is billed to Medicare, insurance company, etc. The insurance companies and Medicare take it in good faith, that you actually needed that care, sought it out, received it etc. Well, for physician practices across the country that wanted to make more money, a wonderfully illegal and fraudulent practice arose where bills were issued for services not rendered. How did they realize this? The physicians were dead.

Now I would notice if Anthem sent me an invoice for a visit I did not attend, to a physician that I knew was not alive – but Medicare doesn’t send families statements, they usually just pay, so that is how the fraud went unnoticed.

And what a shame too – Millions of our tax dollars not used to help. In a tight budget process, where Medicare is getting cut and health care costs are on the rise, the average citizen is who pays for this fraud. And do you think there will be any criminal actions taken? I would hope so, but I am not holding my breath!

Lauren Ellerman
Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at