Medicare Payments for Zombies: OIG reveals that Medicare Advantage payments sometimes outlive beneficiaries

Just in time for Halloween, in a Medicare audit, the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services has found that $23 million in Medicare expenditures in 2011 were paid inappropriately after the beneficiary had died.  The vast majority of these overpayments, 86 percent, flowed from Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, a program that allows private insurers to offer managed care plans for Medicare beneficiaries.  The average payment for a deceased Part C beneficiary was $1,682.

In the scheme of total Medicare expenditures, these overpayments accounted for only a tiny fraction—less than one-tenth of one percent, according to OIG.  Nonetheless, OIG recommended that CMS take actions that would more closely monitor claims made on behalf of beneficiaries after their dates of death, and to ensure that dates of death are properly documented.

The OIG’s press release in this matter may be viewed here:


Caitlin Monjeau contributed this post.

Caitlin Monjeau

About Caitlin Monjeau

Caitlin is an associate with our Health Law department in the Albany office. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Boston University School of Law where she served as Articles Editor for the Boston University Law Review, and is a graduate of Duke University with a major in English and minor in Political Science. Caitlin was an intern with the United States Attorney’s Office, Criminal Division in Boston, MA before joining O’Connell and Aronowitz. Her experience includes clerkships with the Office of the General Counsel at Boston University and New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, 3rd Department. She also interned with the Office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. While in law school, Caitlin was honored with the Paul J. Liacos Scholar and G. Joseph Tauro Distinguished Scholar awards. She also received the Best Oralist award in the Stone Moot Court Competition in 2009, and she was the Winner and recipient of the Best Brief Award for the Sutherland Cup Moot Court Competition in 2011.