Illegal immigrants and prison inmates received more than $120 million in Medicare services from 2009-2011 despite federal law that makes them ineligible for the program, according to two new reports from the HHS inspector general.
The issue, according to the reports, is timing. When Medicare is alerted that someone is incarcerated or undocumented, its contractors help prevent payments from going out the door. But often, Medicare’s databases aren’t up to date, and improper payments go out.
And Medicare lacks the tools to get the money back.
Nearly 3,000 illegal immigrants made thousands of claims resulting in $91.6 million in services improperly covered by Medicare during the three-year period studied in the report.
Over the same period, more than 135,000 Medicare beneficiaries were incarcerated, a second report shows. The report says that 11,600 inmates submitted more than 75,000 claims and received services worth $33.6 million.