The Obama administration has stated that doctors have been billing the poor for some Medicare costs that are supposed to be exempt such as co payments, deductibles as well as other costs.
Doctors have been warned by Federal officials that if they persist with these practices they could be subject to penalties by being fined or even be excluded from Medicare.
Those being billed improperly are qualified Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Medicaid. These people have low incomes, over 65 or disabled, typically making less than $1,010.00 each month per individual, $1,355.00 for married couples.
According to Federal law, these beneficiaries have “no legal liability to make payment” beyond the amounts that are paid to doctors or hospitals by Medicare or Medicaid. Obama administration has recently informed doctors who are treating qualified Medicare beneficiaries, they must accept the Medicare payment and Medicaid Payments, it there are any as full payment for services rendered.
The administrations have stated a lot of the low income beneficiaries simply pay the cost sharing amounts because they are either unaware or have concerns they could lose access to their doctors. There have been some cases where these unpaid bills have been referred to collection agencies. There have been cases where beneficiaries have limited the use of services because of concerns over being able to pay their bill.
Despite the fact this is a requirement. A study done by the Department of Health and Human Serviced has found this type of improper billing is still appearing to be commonplace due to some Medicare providers who use unlawful billing practices when billing enrollee’s even after they’ve received payments from Medicaid or Medicare.