ATLANTA (March 5, 2012) – Senate Bill 431 passed the Senate today, which creates and classifies the crime of medical identity fraud as a felony offense in Georgia. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Judson Hill (R-Marietta) and passed in a 51-0 vote.
“The cost of medical care and prescription drugs—with and without health insurance—is already outrageously high. Costs will only continue to rise, and so will the incidents of medical identity fraud,” said Sen. Hill. “These people are breaking the law, and therefore deserve to face the consequences.”
SB 431 states that any sort of willful and fraudulent use of another person’s identifying information for the purpose of obtaining medical care, prescription drugs, or financial gain, without that person’s authorization or consent, will be considered a felony offense. This bill extends to the use of identifying information of deceased persons, fictitious persons and children under 18 in the custody or care of the accused.
First time offenders could face 2-10 years in prison and/or a fine not to exceed $100,000. Second or subsequent offenders could face 3-15 years in prison and/or a fine not to exceed $250,000. Each violation is considered a separate offense and cannot be merged with any other offense.
“When individuals choose to use another person’s identity in order to cheat the system, medical facilities have to raise costs in order to recoup any profits that were lost. The unintended consequence from this fraudulent action is raised insurance premiums and medical costs for honest, hardworking people. We need to send a message that this behavior will not be tolerated in Georgia,” said Sen. Hill.
SB 431 will now transfer to the House of Representatives for consideration.
For Immediate Release:
March 5, 2012
For Information Contact:
Natalie Dale, Director