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April 2, 2010

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6 nabbed in med-card swindle

SHANGHAI police said yesterday that they had arrested six people for allegedly swindling the social medical insurance fund by dealing out medical insurance cards to unqualified people.

Shanghai Public Security Bureau said the gang usually hung around an unidentified big hospital in the city's Yangpu District, paying to borrow medical insurance cards and then leasing them to patients who didn't have them, mainly people from outside Shanghai.

Many of the card holders were retirees, who only have to pay 30 percent of the medical fees on medicines and doctor visits with the card.

Police said the suspects rented the cards from these holders and leased them to others at higher prices to pocket the difference.

As a result, the social medical insurance fund was bilked for an estimated 5 million yuan (US$732,485), police said.

"We borrowed the cards, leased them to others for 50 percent and could earn 20 percent," the suspects said.

The scheme involved hundreds of people - both card holders and card borrowers - over months.

Shanghai police warned residents not to lend their social medical insurance card to others or to cash out the accounts illegally.

"The card holder could even face criminal charges if the nature of the appropriating is malicious," warned Wang Xiaoli, an officer of the bureau's economic crime investigation department.

Wang said residents, especially the aged, should learn more about the law to protect themselves and the society.


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