The number of questionable medical claims increased by 10 percent in 2009 compared to the prior year, according to new data released Sept. 22 by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).
The bureau, which examines suspected fraudulent medical claims submitted by property and casualty insurance companies, said suspicious claims totaled 28,533 in 2009, compared to 25,945 in 2008. States with the highest numbers of suspicious claims were Florida, California, New York, Texas and Illinois. The cities producing the most suspicious claims were New York, Tampa, Miami, Los Angeles and Houston.
Bodily injury accounted for the most suspicious medical claims followed by personal injury protection. More than two-thirds of questionable claims, 71 percent, were for personal car insurance policies last year.
NICB projects medical fraud, which presently makes up about a third of all questionable insurance claims, to increase this year.
"If the current pace that we've seen during the first half of 2010 continues, we will see a 13 percent increase in questionable medical claims this year versus 2009. This increase is the result of criminal rings stepping up their efforts to steal money from insurance companies and their customers," NICB President Joe Wehrle said, in a media statement.
Responding to the increase, NICB created a sixth major medical fraud task force in Tampa and will add a seventh one in the Northeast.
Fraud leads to increased home and car insurance rates for everyone.