• OIG - Comparing Lab Test Payment Rates: Medicare Could Achieve Substantial Savings

    Friday June 21, 2013

    June 2013 OEI-07-11-00010


    In 2011, Medicare paid between 18 and 30 percent more than other insurers for 20 high-volume and/or high-expenditure lab tests. Medicare could have saved $910 million, or 38 percent, on these lab tests if it had paid providers at the lowest established rate in each geographic area. State Medicaid programs and 83 percent of FEHB plans use the Medicare CLFS as a basis for establishing their own fee schedules and payment rates, although most pay less. However, unlike Medicare, FEHB programs incorporate factors such as competitor information, changes in technology used in performing lab tests, and provider requests in their payment rates. Some State Medicaid programs and FEHB plans required copayments for lab tests, which, in effect, lowered the costs of lab tests for the insurer.


    The OIG recommend that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) seek legislation that would allow it to establish lower payment rates for lab tests and consider seeking legislation to institute copayments and deductibles for lab tests. In its comments, CMS stated that it is exploring whether it has authority under current statute to revise payments for lab tests consistent with OIG's recommendation and that a proposal to establish "deductibles and coinsurance" for lab tests is not included in the fiscal year 2014 President's Budget.


    To read the complete report click on the pdf below.

     OIG - Comparing Lab Test Payment Rates: Medicare Could Achieve Substantial Savings

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