• Medicare and Medicaid made an estimated $23.7 billion in improper payments in 2007. These included $10.8 billion for Medicare and $12.9 billion for Medicaid. Medicare’s fee-for-service reduced its error rate from 4.4 percent to 3.9 percent. (U.S. Office of Management and Budget, 2008)

• Every $1 the U.S. government invests in combating Medicare and Medicaid fraud saves $1.55. (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2009)

• Medicare paid dead physicians 478,500 claims totaling up to $92 million from 2000 to 2007. These claims included 16,548 to 18,240 deceased physicians. (U.S. Senate Permanent Committee on Investigations, 2008)

• Nearly one of three claims (29 percent) Medicare paid for durable medical equipment was erroneous in FY 2006. (Inspector General report, Department of Health and Human Services, 2008)

• Medicare and private health insurers pay up to $16 billion a year for needless imaging tests ordered by doctors. (American College of Radiology, 2004)

Other Medicare Stats

Medicare paid more than $1 billion in questionable claims for 18 categories of medical supplies that patients don’t appear to need. The study covered claims between January 2001 and December 2006. The claims included walkers for patients with purported sinus congestion, paraplegia or shoulder injuries. Hundreds of thousands of claims were made for diabetes-related glucose test strips for patients with purported breathing problems, bubonic plague, leprosy or sexual impotence. (U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, 2008)

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