In report, OIG-HHS finds relatively low rate of Part D payments for the dead

by Ben Vernia | May 26th, 2011

On the heels of a report reviewing New Mexico’s payment of medical services for dead people, the OIG-HHS issued a report on May 17 that reviewed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ payment for Part D benefits to deceased beneficiaries. Because the government pays an insurance subsidy for each month of Part D coverage whether it is used or not, learning of a beneficiary’s death and terminating payments for their coverage requires coordinating data between the Social Security program (which keeps the principal records of each person’s death) and the Medicare program’s. And because Medicare coverage only ends with a person’s death, every beneficiary will eventually require this coordination.

Notwithstanding the challenges, the OIG-HHS found that CMS has only made erroneous posthumous payments for less than 1% of deceased beneficiaries, for a total of about $3.6 million. The OIG-HHS noted its disagreement with CMS’s belief that it had already recouped this money.

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