Improper payments to the Medicare program totaled about $34.3 billion in 2010, according to the CMS. That figure is an improvement from last year, the agency said, as the Medicare fee-for-service error rate dropped to 10.5% in 2010, compared with a rate of 12.4%—totaling $35.4 billion in improper payments to Medicare—in 2009.
Error rates down
Medicare improper payment numbers improve
For Medicare Advantage plans, or Medicare Part C, the error rate dropped to 14.1% in 2010 for a total of $13.6 billion in improper payments, compared with an error rate of 15.4% and a total of $12 billion in 2009. Those were determined based on the 2008 payment rate according to the CMS. In the Medicaid program, only one-third of states are reviewed each year for error rates, so the agency released a three-year average rate of 9.4% for a total of $22.5 billion in improper payments, which reflects an average of the rates in 2008, 2009 and 2010, which were, respectively, 10.5%, 8.7% and 9%.
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