Despite a previous warning, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services failed to take steps to ensure the Medicare Part D program does not also pay for medicines that should be covered under the Medicare Part A hospice benefit, resulting in an estimated $161 million in duplicate payments in 2016, according to a new federal government analysis.
Specifically, Medicare, Part D paid $422.7 million for 6.7 million prescriptions for beneficiaries who received hospice care. Hospice organizations should have provided and paid for the drugs, which were essentially paid for twice through payments to hospice organizations and again through Part D. And hospices or beneficiaries should have paid for the remaining $262 million in Part D total cost.
Duplicate payments were also noticed in 2009, according to a report issued in 2012 by the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. At the time, Medicare Part D paid $33.6 million and hospice beneficiaries paid $3.8 million for prescription drugs that likely should have been paid for by hospice organizations.