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The Financial Cost of Healthcare Fraud 2014

LONDON, March 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

Fraud and Error Costs Global Healthcare Sector $487 Billion (£313 Billion) Per Year

  • Since 2008 global average fraud and error losses in healthcare have risen 25% from 5.59% of expenditure to 6.99%
  • Reduction in fraud and error losses of up to 40% possible within one year - freeing up to $195bn (£125bn) globally
  • Global average loss rates suggest loss within UK National Health Service to be £7bn

The world is losing some $487bn to fraud and error annually according to a new report "The Financial Cost of Healthcare Fraud 2014" from BDO LLP, the accountancy and business advisory firm in partnership with The Centre for Counter Fraud Studies at the University of Portsmouth.

The findings show that global average losses within the healthcare sector have, since 2008, risen 25% to 6.99%. When taken as a proportion of global healthcare expenditure of $6.97 trillion (£4.48 trillion) this equates to $487 billion (£313 billion) lost in a year equivalent to:

  • More than three times the UK NHS budget for 2011/12;
  • Two and a half times the total healthcare expenditure of Canada for 2011;
  • Almost one fifth of the United States' total healthcare expenditure for 2011 and more than 27% of European Union Countries total healthcare expenditure for the same period

Fortunately counter fraud exercises have shown that it is possible to significantly reduce the losses with a reduction of 40% within 12 months being considered a very reasonable expectation. This in itself would see global healthcare resources increased by as much as $195bn (£125bn).

Case Study

In the UK's National Health Service (the second largest organisation in the world) between 1998 and 2006 losses were reduced by up to 60%. Statistics from the UK's National Fraud Authority Indicator 2013 suggest that fraud within the NHS was £229m in 2013 however, applying the global average percentage loss rate suggests, that if the NHS was in line with the rest of the world, a figure nearer £7bn would be more likely. To accept the figure of £229m would be to accept that the NHS is doing more than 30 times better than the rest of the world in preventing and detecting fraud and error. Dr David Evans, the Director of Health Systems Financing for the World Health Organisation (WHO) describes the report's conclusions as "convincing" in his Foreword, while Dr Simon Peck, a Founder of the Health Insurance Counter Fraud Group (HICFG), a UK industry group of 29 leading healthcare insurance companies, writes in his preface that those "who have the power to make a difference" should read the report.

Jim Gee, Director of Counter Fraud Services at BDO LLP added:

"The global financial crisis has had a significant impact on governments, corporates and individuals ability to meet the rising cost of their healthcare requirements. These budgetary constraints could, however, be vastly improved with a concerted effort to measure, manage and minimise the cost of fraud and error within the relevant organisations, particularly if this was supported by legislative requirement. Our conservative estimate is that by tackling this problem seriously, healthcare organisations globally could free up $195bn which is currently lost. This would make a material difference to the lives of millions of people around the world."

The full BDO Financial Cost of Healthcare 2014 report can be found at http://www.bdo.co.uk/services/forensic-accounting/fraud-and-financial-investigations/counter-fraud-services

About the report

The Financial Cost of Healthcare Fraud 2014 Report renews research first undertaken in 2009 and repeated in 2011, collating the latest accurate, statistically valid information from around the world about the real financial cost of healthcare fraud and error (as opposed to the cost of detected or reported fraud). In all, the report evaluates 92 separate loss measurement exercises covering 14 different types of healthcare expenditure totalling over $2.99 trillion (£1.93 trillion) in 33 organisations from 6 countries. The data which forms its conclusions is held in the largest fraud loss measurement database in the world with data collated over 15 years. The data is derived from accurate, statistically valid loss measurement exercises and relates to total losses, not just what has been detected or reported, which is only a small proportion of the total cost.

The report represents another output of the fruitful collaboration between BDO LLP, the leading accountancy and business advisory services firm, and the Centre for Counter Fraud Studies at the University of Portsmouth (CCFS), Europe's leading fraud research centre.

Note to editors

About BDO

Service provision within the international BDO network of independent member firms ('the BDO network') is coordinated by Brussels Worldwide Services BVBA, a limited liability company incorporated in Belgium with its statutory seat in Brussels.

Each of BDO International Limited (the governing entity of the BDO network), Brussels Worldwide Services BVBA and the member firms is a separate legal entity and has no liability for another such entity's acts or omissions. Nothing in the arrangements or rules of the BDO network shall constitute or imply an agency relationship or a partnership between BDO International Limited, Brussels Worldwide Services BVBA and/or the member firms of the BDO network. 

BDO is the brand name for the BDO network and for each of the BDO member firms.

The combined fee income of all the BDO Member Firms, including the members of their exclusive alliances, was $6.45 billion in 2013. The global network provides advisory services in 147 countries, with more than 56,000 people working out of 1,264 offices worldwide.

UK Contacts
Jim Gee, BDO LLP
Tel: +44(0)20-7893-2830
Email: [email protected]


Ged Brumby, Smithfield Consultants
Tel: +44(0)20-7903-0674
Mobile: +44(0)7540-412-301
Email: [email protected]

BDO USA Contacts

Melissa Kvitko
Bliss Integrated
Tel: +1-646-386-2923
Email: [email protected]


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