Office of Inspector General
Posted on September 23, 2014
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) conducted an audit of Healthcare.gov, the online Federal Marketplace, from February to June 2014, including vulnerability scans and simulated attacks. In doing so, they found that the site’s security had been improved since last October’s launch of the insurance marketplace. However, OIG still found some vulnerabilities and the report recommended ways to further improve the site’s security, which the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) says have already been implemented.
Posted on August 26, 2014
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a report which provides an overview of the contracts that contributed to the development of the Federal Marketplace. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) relied, and continues to rely, extensively on contractors to operate the Federal Marketplace under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The report analyzes the planning, acquisition, management, and performance oversight of these contracts, but does not make recommendations.
Posted on September 18, 2013
The US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a consumer alert concerning potential signs of fraud in the health insurance Marketplaces. The OIG alert addresses specific actions that may indicate fraudulent activity around the Marketplaces. Some of the actions consumers should be wary of include:
- individuals asking consumers for money to enroll in Marketplaces or Obamacare;
- sham or look-a-like websites;
- persistent, high-pressure solicitation to purchase insurance; and
- individuals asking consumers for personally identifiable information without previous contact.
Additionally, OIG used this alert to remind Medicare beneficiaries that they do not need to enroll in the Marketplace.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also released a tip sheet alerting consumers on ways in which they can protect themselves against fraud in the Marketplaces.
Posted on August 5, 2013
A new report from the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) chronicled observations from the implementation of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) data service hub. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), CMS created the data service hub to aggregate, but not store, data from several federal agencies required to make the Marketplaces operate. The report found that if CMS delays any more of the security preparedness components in implementing the Marketplaces, it is likely that CMS will possess “limiting information” on the potential privacy and security risks associated with the data services hub.
Posted on July 25, 2013
A new report released by the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) purports that Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) issuers have achieved 90% of their implementation goals. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), CO-OP loans were provided to create non-profit health plans that were effectively consumer initiated and executed in 24 states. Although these CO-OPs have been successful in development, much uncertainty and concern still remains around the ultimate success of these programs. The report, Early Implementation of the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan Loan Program, found that many factors, such as competition in state insurance Exchanges and the health status of enrollees, will determine whether or not CO-OPs will be beneficial for plan participants.
Posted on April 9, 2013
A recent report released by the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) finds that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) should better oversee the information provided by private insurers to HealthCare.gov Plan Finder to make certain that the information presented is accurate. The purpose of Plan Finder is to provide consumers in the individual and small group markets with information on various insurance coverage options. The OIG report denoted several reasons for additional oversight:
- 13% of insurers expected to provide pricing and benefit data to Plan Finder did not do so, and CMS did not follow-up with these insurers.
- CMS does not require the CEO or CFO of the insurance company to certify the submitted data.
- 14% of the plans sampled by OIG were not available for sale or the insurance representative could not identify the name of their product on Plan Finder.
Posted on March 18, 2013
Updated guidelines released by the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG) provide new information for evaluating state false claims act legislation. The updates adhere to various amendments made to the federal False Claims Act of 2009 and 2010. Several recent legislative endeavors, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA), have altered the foundation and scope by which the False Claims Act operates. One ACA example found within the OIG updates is how states will receive their share of any Medicaid recoveries made under the federal False Claims Act.
Posted on February 21, 2013
According to a report published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG), 35 States reported that they anticipate implementing streamlined eligibility and enrollment systems, streamlined application forms, and data sharing and matching by January 1, 2014, as mandated under section 1413 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, the report also describes challenges reported by States, such as implementing the requirements by the target date and upgrading outdated eligibility and enrollment systems. The report details various funding issues related to implementing needed changes. According to the paper, States also reported needing information and guidance, particularly on the Secretary’s application form, the planned Federal data services hub, and the calculation of Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI). The OIG report concluded that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) should continue to provide guidance to States as they prepare to implement the streamlined eligibility and enrollment systems.
Posted on September 26, 2012
According to a study recently released by Office of the Inspector General (OIG), between 2001 and 2010, Medicare payments for Part B goods and services increased by 43 percent, from $77 billion to $110 billion. During this same time, Medicare payments for evaluation and management (E/M) services increased by 48 percent, from $22.7 billion to $33.5 billion. E/M services have been vulnerable to fraud and abuse. In 2009, two health care entities paid over $10 million to settle allegations that they fraudulently billed Medicare for E/M services. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also found that certain types of E/M services had the most improper payments of all Medicare Part B service types in 2008. The OIG report is the first in a series of evaluations of E/M services.
Posted on June 21, 2012
Two House Republicans introduced new legislation to block an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rule that will offer tax credits for buying health insurance in Federally Facilitated Exchanges (FFEs). Reps. Scott DesJarlais and Phil Roe maintain that since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) only authorized tax credits for the purchase of insurance on state-run exchanges—and not for federally operated exchanges—the IRS rule cannot offer tax credits in both marketplaces. The legislation would affect many of the estimated 16 million people expected to gain coverage, as about 30 states are expected to have federally run exchanges. Under the IRS rule, premium tax credits will be available to individuals between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level who purchase coverage inside of both state and federal exchanges beginning in 2014. Additional subsidies are available for individuals up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level.