Thursday, June 08, 2023
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Dead People Got Trillions in Medicare Benefits

Recipients of federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid received additional money — more than $2 trillion — in error over a two-decade timespan.

This is according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), in a recently published audit.

“Payment errors are a long-standing issue for the federal government,” the GAO said.

“Over the last 20 years, it has made almost $2.4 trillion in payment errors, according to reported estimates.”

The GAO audit, however, focused mostly on how much money federal bureaucrats’ collective incompetence cost taxpayers during the most recently completed Fiscal Year (FY 2022).

Bureaucrats paid people who no longer qualify for Medicare or Medicaid. They also paid people who were already dead.

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The payment errors that the federal government made in FY 2022 alone include the following:

• $200 billion were overpayments

• $5.3 billion were underpayments

• $32.7 billion were “unknown payments,” which means the feds are unclear whether they made a payment error or not

• $9 billion went to people entitled to a payment, but the payment failed to follow proper statutes or regulations

“Payment errors were reported by 18 agencies, across 82 federal programs in FY 2022,” the GAO reported

“While a widespread issue, the vast majority of these payment errors (78%) were made under five program areas—Medicaid, Medicare, the Paycheck Protection Program, Unemployment Insurance, and the Earned Income Tax Credit.”

Medicaid, Medicare, and the Earned Income Tax Credit, the GAO went on to say, are the federal programs that issue the most payments to individuals.

“As a result, [they] are maybe more vulnerable to payment errors,” the GAO audit said.

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As RVIVR reported this month, Medicare lost $128 million over the past five years due to duplicate payments to people.

Duplicate Medicare payments for individuals who had both Medicare and VHA benefits also increased. These duplicate payments occurred because the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) did not implement controls to address duplicate payments for services provided to dually eligible enrollees.

Medicare’s and VHA’s duplicate payments are a longstanding issue, dating back to 1979.

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