Medicare Auditors Say Millions Could Be Saved By Limiting Advance Payments To Insurers

According to a report by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, the federal program prepays private insurers approximately 20 days before they pay their pharmacy bills but does not require them to return any of the interest earned during the time they hold that money. 

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Auditors: Medicare Could Save Millions By Limiting Advance Payments To Insurers
That's because Medicare prepays the private insurers approximately 20 days before the insurers pay their pharmacy bills and does not require them to return any of the interest they earn while holding that money, says the report by the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services. That contrasts with how the government treats insurers in the Federal Employees Benefit Program, which provides health coverage for federal workers, the report said. The report is advisory and was given to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and to members of Congress (Appleby, 4/16).

News outlets also report on developments related to the bankruptcy filing of the Scooter Store, which has been under congressional scrutiny because some people say its marketing targets people who don't need these scooters and causes unnecessary Medicare spending. Also, the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center and federal officials strike a deal for the hospital to recoup some lost Medicare billings -

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Texas-Based Scooter Stores Files For Bankruptcy Protection In Delaware
The Scooter Store, a Texas-based company that supplies power wheelchairs and scooters to people with limited mobility, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Monday’s bankruptcy filing in Delaware comes after federal agents raided the company’s South Texas headquarters earlier this year, and amid congressional scrutiny of whether TV ads by The Scooter Store and a rival company target people who don’t need scooters, leading to hundreds of millions of dollars in unnecessary Medicare spending (4/15).

Baltimore Sun: St. Joseph Strikes Deal With Medicare To Recoup Some Of Lost Billings
University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center will be able to recoup some of the tens of millions of dollars it lost while operating without a Medicare certification under a compromise reached with federal officials. The Towson hospital will be able to bill Medicare for treatment given to patients in the federal program since Jan. 7, about six weeks before it regained what is known as a Medicare provider agreement. St. Joseph had operated without one since the University of Maryland Medical System bought the hospital and chose not to renew its existing Medicare certification. Medicare won't reimburse hospitals for treatment if they lack the certification (Dance, 4/15).

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