More than three dozen just-released audits reveal how some private Medicare plans overcharged the government for the majority of elderly patients they treated, often by overstating the severity of certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and depression.
The Center for Public Integrity recently obtained, through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the federal audits of 37 Medicare Advantage programs. These audits have never before been made public, and though they reveal overpayments from 2007 — money that has since been paid back — many plans are still appealing the findings.
Medicare Advantage is a privately run alternative to standard Medicare; it has been growing in popularity and now enrolls more than 17 million seniors. In 2014, Medicare paid the health plans more than $160 billion.