OIG finds payments for dead beneficiaries

Friday, November 1, 2013

WASHINGTON – Medicare paid $23 million in improper payments on behalf of deceased beneficiaries in 2011, according to an Oct. 31 report from the Office of Inspector General (OIG).

Those payments account for less than one tenth of a percent of total Medicare spending, the report says.

The OIG says auditors identified beneficiaries who died between 2009 and 2011, then found payments associated with those beneficiaries paid in 2011. It also found paid and unpaid Medicare Part B claims dated after beneficiaries were deceased.

Specifically, the OIG found 251 providers that had high numbers of Part B claims dated after beneficiaries deceased.

About 10% of the total improper payments were the result of missing or incorrect dates of death, the report says. 

The OIG called on CMS to tighten existing safeguards, act on improper payments, monitor paid and unpaid claims dated after a person’s death, and act on providers and suppliers with a high number of claims made after beneficiaries died.