According to reports that were released on Thursday, the federal government paid tens of millions of dollars in Medicare benefits to illegal immigrants and to people who have died.
Fox News reports that the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) paid out $23 million to beneficiaries after their deaths in 2011, according to one report from HHS’ inspector general. Another report tallied more than $28 million in payments from 2009 to 2011 to individuals who were in the country illegally.
According to the two reports, CMS paid Medicare benefits to more than 4,000 illegal immigrants and more than 17,000 deceased people.
CMS acknowledged the problems and said it will try to take steps to fix them, reported The Washington Times.
“We agree that in cases where the information indicates an individual is not lawfully present in the United States, that individual should not be permitted to enroll or to remain enrolled in a Part D plan during the period where he or she is not eligible to receive federal benefits,” Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of CMS, said in response to the report about illegal immigrants getting benefits.
The Washington Free Beacon notes that federal regulations prohibit illegal immigrants from receiving Medicare benefits. CMS has policies in place to prevent people who are unlawfully present from receiving benefits under Medicare Parts A and B, but no such protections for Medicare Part D benefits.