Thursday, August 16, 2007

Have YOU ever given away $34 million?

Apparently the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has.
A new GAO report investigates CMS audits of private insurance providers offering Medicare Advantage plans. These private MA plans will collect billions in government subsidies while also charging $1000 more per beneficiary to provide the same coverage already provided by Medicare.

This latest GAO report finds:

“CMS has not met the statutory requirement to audit the financial records of at least one-third of the participating MA organizations for contract years 2001-2005, nor has it done so yet for the contract year 2006 bid submissions.”

Even worse, the audits that CMS has performed turned up $34 million dollars which Medicare beneficiaries should have received in additional benefits, lower co-payments or lower premiums. Good news for seniors, right? Think again.

“However, in late May 2007,CMS officials told us they were planning to close out the audits without pursuing financial recoveries because legal counsel had determined that the agency does not have the legal authority to recover funds from MA organizations based on ACR audit results.“

In other words, private MA insurers get to keep another $34 million of our taxpayer dollars, because CMS won’t enforce its own contracts with the insurance industry.

Welcome to the world of privatized Medicare.

No comments: