Study: Problems with Medicare contractors persist

December 16, 2011 - 11:45 AM

MIAMI (AP) — A new report says private contractors overseeing Medicare fraud paid claims submitted in the names of dead providers or for unnecessary medical treatments, and were among problems estimated to cost more than $1 billion in 2009.

Federal officials hire private companies to process Medicare claims and investigate fraud. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services inspector general examined how effectively several fraud contractors are combatting an estimated annual $60 billion in Medicare fraud.

The report shows contractors often paid claims using the identification numbers of dead providers.

The contractors were asked to estimate how much the system vulnerabilities might cost. They only accounted for one-third of the issues, which alone were estimated at $1.2 billion.

The report found 77 percent of the problems remained unresolved nearly two years later.