WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) – Each year and estimated 1.5 million people are victims of medical identify theft, which equates to $50 billion lost from Medicare annually due to fraud.

Rep. Lois Frankel has unveiled the Fighting Medicare Fraud Act of 2014 as way to combat this issue.

“Unfortunately, South Florida is ground zero for this crime,” said Frankel to residents at Evernia Place. “Medicare fraud often has severe consequences on the lives of victims and strains a program that so many of our seniors rely on for quality health care.”

The legislation closes a loophole that corrupt CEOs and parent corporations use to exploit Medicare.

Right now, if a company is under investigation for Medicare fraud and the CEO resigns prior to a penalty being handed down, he or she may legally start a new company and potentially launch a new Medicare scam. This bill would prohibit these people from reentering the Medicare business.

The bill also creates a specific offense for stealing a Medicare identification number. Those thieves caught with a stolen ID or distributing them can receive a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. President Obama requested that this provision be part of the bill.

Lastly, the legislation added a requirement that all Medicare Advantage and Part D organizations must report any incidences of potential fraud and abuse to the federal government.

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