Last year, it came out that the IRS was sending checks to illegal immigrants via the Additional Child Tax Credit, to the tune of $4.2 billion. Rightly, it garnered outrage from politicians and pundits alike, as well as average Americans.
Now, the Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) Inspector General has released a report showing that the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) spent $26.2 million in reimbursements from 2010 to 2012 to organizations providing Medicare Advantage…for illegal immigrants:
In a new report released Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) revealed that for calendar years 2010 through 2012, CMS provided $26.2 million in improper payments to Medicare Advantage organizations for 1,600 “unlawfully present beneficiaries” – or nearly $16,375 per illegal immigrant.
According to the OIG, CMS did not have policies in place to notify the Medicare Advantage organizations about the legality of potential beneficiaries. Without such data, illegal immigrants were able to enroll with Medicare Advantage organizations.
“In contrast to its fee-for-service (FFS) program, CMS did not have policies and procedures to notify the MA organizations of the unlawful-presence information in its data systems. Had CMS provided this information to the MA organizations, they would have been able to prevent enrollment and to disenroll beneficiaries already enrolled,” the report reads. “CMS would then have been able to recoup any improper payments.”
The two bits of good news here are that the Inspector General gave suggestions for process improvement and recouping the money, and CMS agreed with how to improve its processes.
For a point of reference, the Kaiser Family Foundation found
that nearly 12.7 million Americans were on Medicare Advantage in 2012. Assuming this was the number of people on the program in each of the three years examined by the Inspector General, this means only one of every 23,756 people receiving Medicare Advantage were given this form of improper payments.
Related, the Government Accountability Office found that the program handed out $3 billion in “excess payments” from 2010 to 2012. The program is projected to spend $154 billion in 2014.