CMS Accidentally Covers Dead People

The Medicare and Medicaid agency paid $23 million on behalf of deceased beneficiaries in 2011.

Pondering: Coburn taking a break from talks.
National Journal
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Sophie Novack
Oct. 31, 2013, 11:24 a.m.

The Cen­ters for Medi­care and Medi­caid Ser­vices has you covered “¦ to death and bey­ond. 

Ac­cord­ing to an Of­fice of the In­spect­or Gen­er­al re­port re­leased Thursday, the agency mis­takenly paid $23 mil­lion on be­half of de­ceased be­ne­fi­ciar­ies in 2011.

The OIG re­port found that mil­lions were paid to pro­viders, sup­pli­ers, pre­scrip­tion-drug plan spon­sors, and Medi­care ad­vant­age or­gan­iz­a­tions for Medi­care be­ne­fi­ciar­ies who died between 2009 and 2011.

The sum is less than one-tenth of 1 per­cent of total Medi­care spend­ing, and CMS “has safe­guards to pre­vent and re­cov­er Medi­care pay­ments made on be­half of de­ceased be­ne­fi­ciar­ies,” ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

CMS agreed with all of OIG’s re­com­mend­a­tions to pre­vent im­prop­er pay­ments in the fu­ture.

In any case, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., is not happy. He urged pas­sage of his Im­prop­er Pay­ments Agency Co­oper­a­tion En­hance­ments Act on Thursday — which he and Rep. Tom Carp­er, D-Del., in­tro­duced in Ju­ly — to im­prove co­ordin­a­tion of agen­cies re­gard­ing ef­forts to com­bat waste and fraud.

“Award­ing be­ne­fits to the de­ceased is dead wrong,” he said.