An audit of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has revealed that $9.3 million in benefits was awarded to illegal immigrants in 2013 and 2014, in direct violation of the law.
“The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had policies and procedures to ensure that payments were not made for Medicare services rendered to unlawfully present beneficiaries in accordance with Federal requirements, but it did not always follow those policies and procedures,” the audit said.
In 2013 and 2014 combined, the audit reported that Medicare paid out a total of $9,267,392 to 481 illegal immigrants, in 14,530 separate claims, according to the Free Beacon.
According to the laws, CMS is supposed to make sure they do not issue payments to anyone not lawfully present in the U.S., and they are supposed to recoup any improper payments if they are made. Both requirements were violated, alleges the audit.
“When CMS’s data systems did not indicate until after a claim had been processed that a beneficiary was unlawfully present, CMS had policies and procedures to detect and recoup payment for Medicare services, but it did not follow them,” the audit said.
Now they’re going to “attempt” to get the money back.
The acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Andy Slavitt, said, “CMS is committed to making sure that improper payments are not made for health care services provided to unlawfully present beneficiaries. CMS will review the overpayments referred by [inspector general] and identify overpayments greater than or equal to $1,000.”
He added, “CMS will attempt to recoup these overpayments. At the conclusion of this collection effort, CMS will perform a cost-benefit analysis to determine if CMS should pursue similarly situated overpayments in the future.”
“Similarly situated overpayments in the future,” indicates an audit for 2015 and 2016 may be expected next.
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