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
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.