Annual Medicare Fraud: $60 Billion; Annual Profits of Top Ten Insurance Companies: $8 billion
5:15 PM, Oct 31, 2009 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
As 60 Minutes reported last week, Medicare fraud is rampant and has now replaced the cocaine (ahem) business as the major criminal activity in South Florida. Both 60 Minutes and the Washington Post report that Medicare fraud now costs American taxpayers roughly $60 billion a year. That may sound like a lot of money, but surely it pales next to the extraordinary profits of private insurance companies, right?
Well, let's see.... Last year, the profits of the ten largest insurance companies in America were just over $8 billion -- combined. No single insurance company made even five percent of what Medicare reportedly loses in fraud.
While we're making comparisons, in its real first ten years (2014-23), the Senate Finance Committee bill would cost $1.7 trillion. At the rate of last year's profits, the combined ten-year profits of America's ten largest insurance companies would be $83 billion -- five percent of the costs of the Senate Finance Committee bill. Eighty-three billion dollars may not buy you much in comparison with BaucusCare, but -- on the bright side -- that ten-year tally is somewhat more than what Medicare loses each year in fraud.
So, the next time someone alleges that government-run health care is cheaper because of "lower administrative costs" -- a truly preposterous claim on its surface -- these numbers would be good ones to have at the ready: $60 billion in annual Medicare fraud, $8 billion in combined annual profits for America's ten largest insurance companies.