GAO: Medicare spent $48 billion on improper fee-for-service payments

Share this article:

The federal government spent nearly $48 billion on improper Medicare payments in 2010 according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. The report was released just prior to a House Oversight Committee hearing on government efficiency.

Medicare's large size makes it ripe for unsavory billing practices, federal watchdogs noted in the report. Still, the total amount of money wasted on improper payments exceeds spending on any government program. Investigators found that the $48 billion is attributable to Medicare fee-for-service programs, which include Part A and Part B. Part A covers skilled nursing facility and hospital stays, while Part B covers hospital outpatient, rehabilitation, physician and other services. The improper payment rate for Medicare Advantage — the program with which recipients receive benefits through private plans — was even higher than Part A and B, at 14.1%.

During the hearing, officials from the Department of Health and Human Services touted the agency's efforts to lower improper fee-for-service payment rates. The agency lowered error rates for fee-for-service billing for physicians and hospitals from 12.4% in 2009 to 10.5% in 2010, according to the report.

Share this article:

More in News

Nursing home did not warn worker who was taken hostage in active ...

A nurse at a Life Care Centers of America facility in Colorado was not notified that she would be threatened and taken hostage by a gunman as part of an active shooter drill, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Revisions to False Claims Act urged by former deputy AG

A panel of witnesses debated the merits of the False Claims Act before a Judiciary subcommittee meeting Wednesday, with one former attorney general arguing current policy provokes unfair litigation and "coercive" settlements.

Medicare SNF rate finalized, reimbursements to increase by $750 million next year

Medicare SNF rate finalized, reimbursements to increase by ...

Medicare skilled nursing facility reimbursements will increase by $750 million next year under a final payment rule announced Thursday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.