U.S. Paid Extra $13 Billion for Some Veterans' Care: Study

Andrew M. Seaman | Reuters | June 26, 2012

The U.S. government paid billions of dollars for the medical care of some older veterans twice, according to a new study published on Tuesday. The study's authors say that the federal government potentially spent an additional $13 billion on veterans who received care through the Veterans Health Administration (VA) while also being enrolled in Medicare Part C - also known as Medicare Advantage - between 2004 and 2009.

The Medicare Advantage program allows those eligible for Medicare - generally everyone over 65 - to buy private insurance that may offer additional services. Basically, the authors say, if a veteran who is covered by a Medicare Advantage plan receives medical care at a VA medical center, the government pays the VA for the care while still paying the Medicare Advantage provider - typically a private company.

"What we're saying is that the government needs to find a way to fix these billing services," said Dr. Kenneth Kizer, one of the study's authors and a professor at the University of California Davis in Sacramento...