Non-doctors defraud Medicare of $235,000

AUSTRALIANS convicted of Medicare fraud were ordered to pay back more than $235,000 to the commonwealth despite rates of the crime declining sharply in the past financial year, the federal government has revealed.

The figure – for non-health practitioners – was down from $359,000 the previous financial year, a fall of 35%, but Human Services Minister Tanya Plibersek warned that the government would continue to investigate any suspected wrongdoing with the MBS and the PBS.

“Medicare is a universal benefit designed to ensure all Australians have access to affordable healthcare,” Ms Plibersek said in a statement.

“Stealing from Medicare is not just about stealing from the government, it is stealing from fellow Australians.”

She said out of 21 people investigated in the past year, 14 were ordered to pay back money after being found guilty.

More than half the money returned was in Victoria, where a