Senators hit HHS more than $70 million in Medicare overpayments

ADVERTISEMENT
“At a time when we’re scouring every nook and cranny of the federal budget for savings, we can’t afford to let tens of millions of Medicare dollars go to waste without a serious effort to recover it," Baucus said in a statement.

The senators called on HHS to make suppliers keep more money in reserve, so they can repay improper Medicare payments.

Suppliers must have at least $50,000 in "surety bonds" so that HHS can recover any overpayments. But when the overpayments are significantly higher, they often can't be recovered.

Some providers identified in the HHS report were overpaid by millions of dollars, but either had no surety bonds or only enough to cover a fraction of their overpayments.

“It’s unacceptable that lax oversight has allowed tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to fall by the wayside,” Hatch said in a statement.

The Affordable Care Act allows HHS to set higher minimums for surety bonds. It can even require providers to carry bonds worth the same amount as their total Medicare payments.

"This report shows that thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we have a powerful new tool to prevent and recover waste and fraud from Medicare supply and equipment providers," Carper said.