Healthcare News & Insights

New bill could slow Medicare payments

A new bill would allow the feds to delay Medicare payments when there is suspicion of fraud, waste or abuse. Question is: Who decides what looks suspicious?

Currently, the law requires Medicare to pay up front, and then go back to chase down suspected fraud or waste. Bottom line: It’s worth it for crooks to file the claim and hope they don’t get caught.

The new bill, “Fighting Medicare Payment Fraud Act of 2009” was introduced by Sen. Grassley (R-IA). It would give Medicare up to a year to make payments for categories of providers, specific geographic areas or individual providers where there is a suspicion of fraud. The extension is intended to give the feds time to review the claims and ensure payment is legit.

With all the competing health care bills in Congress right now, it’s too soon to say what this bill’s fate will be. But legislators’ (and taxpayers’) desire to curb costs whenever possible may give the bill a good chance of being passed.

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