CBS4 Investigates: Is Medicaid Fraud Part Of A Shortcut To Citizenship?
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The websites are everywhere. Pictures and videos of a sun-kissed South Florida paradise, designed to attract wealthy, expectant mothers in cold, gray Russia and other former Soviet Bloc countries, saying come to Miami and deliver your American baby.
“I wanted to deliver my baby in America because of the citizenship,” Maria Perova from Russia told CBS4 Investigates.
But among the videos of ritzy condos, fancy cars and great shopping, CBS4 investigates discovered two websites that are actually telling women they can get paid to do it. Come here the sites say and get emergency Medicaid, the U.S. taxpayer funded program to help the poor.
Mama-USA.COM declares: “All of our clients confirm that childbirth in America is not only prestigious, it also pays!”
“The taxpayer is getting screwed and screwed and screwed and screwed,” declared a visitor to Miami who had never heard of these websites.
“That’s crazy!” another man exclaimed. “I don’t think the people here should be paying for anything.”
Neither does Florida’s senior Senator, Bill Nelson.”This is not only a violation of taxpayer money, this is a violation of the integrity of securing the borders of the U.S.”
According to CBS4 Investigates, the website repeatedly refers to Medicaid as “insurance.”
“…if you want to give birth in America, in Miami, all expenses will be paid by the insurance company,” said Mama-USA.com, according to our certified Russian translator.
To get that insurance, which again, is really Medicaid, this company asks women to pay them almost $2,000.
Another website, Babymiami.ru, charges almost one $1,000 for the newborns Medicaid and nearly $3,000 for the mother.
We discovered this website, has even posted a picture of a Florida Medicaid card as part of their sales pitch.
“If you use this insurance program, all of your bills issued by any medical institution will be forwarded to the insurance company, and in turn, it will be paying all the bills for you.”
Neither website responded to repeated requests for comment.
“I never cease to be amazed at how these schemes develop to perpetrate fraud on people,” said Senator Nelson.
The State of Florida claims that between 2010 and 2013, Medicaid paid more than $37-million dollars in emergency medical and birth expenses for what the state calls, qualified aliens.
At Memorial Regional Hospital, 39 out of 377 Russian mothers had Medicaid coverage for births between 2012 and 2013.
“Memorial Regional Hospital is not associated with any of these websites or companies,” a spokeswoman said. In fact, the statement sent to CBS4 Investigates went on to say, “The hospital’s name has been used in advertising without permission.”
On the Babymiami.ru website, CBS4 Investigates discovered a picture of what looks like a Jackson Health Systems card, but hospital officials told us it is actually a prepaid Jackson mental health card. It has nothing to do with giving birth.
A Jackson spokesman said, “We are not aware of any babies born under baby tourism whose birth was paid by Medicaid.”
Mt. Sinai Medical Center’s spokeswoman wrote that, “patients who identified themselves as Russian were self-pay patients.”
“So if you’re uncovering a whole new scheme, we’re going to get to the bottom of this and we’ll have the appropriate federal authorities investigate,” declared Sen. Nelson.
Other hospitals featured on these websites including North Shore Medical center had no comment. Plantation General and Broward Health Systems did not reply to our repeated requests for information.
And it’s not just websites.
We also discovered an advertisement in a local Russian language publication that offers assistance getting pregnancy medicaid, social security disability, green cards and food stamps. American Advisory Associates in Boca Raton didn’t want to talk and hung up on CBS4.