Medicare Advantage plans require more scrutiny

Watchdog says private health plans difficult to investigate By Fred Schulte – Federal officials need to step up efforts to investigate fraud and abuse in Medicare Advantage health plans treating millions of elderly Americans, a top government investigator says. Gary Cantrell, a deputy Inspector General with the Department of Health and Human Services said reviews are “hampered by a lack of accurate, timely and complete data that would facilitate oversight” of the fast-growing health insurance plans. His comments came in testimony prepared for a Wednesday hearing of the oversight subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The hearing was called to assess fraud and abuse safeguards in Medicare, which last year covered about 51 million people at a cost to taxpayers of about $604 billion. Officials estimate that almost $50 billion of that amount was paid improperly, including $11.8 billion to Medicare Advantage plans. A Center for Public...

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