HHS Made $64.2 Billion in ‘Improper Payments’ in Fiscal 2012

By Penny Starr | January 31, 2013 | 10:58 AM EST

Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made $64.2 billion in “improper payments” in fiscal 2012, according to the federal website PaymentAccuracy.

The the bulk of those improper payments were made by Medicare and Medicaid, the government health-care programs.

The government defines an “improper payment” as one that is not backed up by documentation, is used by the recipient in an improper manner, goes to the wrong recipient, or goes to the right recipient but is an overpayment or underpayment.

The HHS made the $64.2 billion in improper payments in fiscal 2012 through five programs that the Office of Management and Budget calls “high-error programs." These programs and their improper payments for FY2012 were:

Medicare Fee-for Service -- $29.6 billion

Medicaid -- $19.2 billion

Medicare Advantage (Part C) -- $13.1 billion

Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit (Part D) -- $1.6 billion

Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) -- 0.7 billion

(AP Photo)

That totals $64,200,000,000.00.
(The fiscal year, 2012, ran from Oct. 1, 2011 through Sept. 30, 2012.)

Visitors to the website can click on an individual program to see details, including the increase or decrease in improper payments over time and the percentage of the total paid out by each program that was improperly paid.

Under Medicare Fee-For-Service, for example, it shows that the HHS program paid out $349.7 billion overall, with $29.6 billion--or 8.5 percent--of that outlay paid improperly.