Medicare fraud, big in Fla., prompts new bond rule

MIAMI (AP) - Facing rampant Medicare fraud, the federal government is beginning to require some medical equipment companies to post a $50,000 bond to continue dealing with the program.

Medicare paid an estimated $1 billion in phony medical equipment claims in 2007.

Durable medical equipment, which includes wheelchairs and prosthetics, is the most prevalent form of fraud. And regulators say Miami-Dade County has one of the highest rates of this form of theft in the country.

Administrators recently revoked billing privileges from 1,100 suppliers in South Florida and California.

Equipment sellers will only have to pay about $1,500 up front for the bonds, and the rest can be covered by collateral put up through a third party.

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