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Study examines federal government payments to separate managed care programs for same patients
Date:6/26/2012

CHICAGO An analysis that included 1.2 million veterans enrolled in the Veterans Affairs health care system and Medicare Advantage plan finds that the federal government spends a substantial and increasing amount of potentially duplicative funds in these separate managed care programs for the care of same individuals, according to a study appearing in JAMA. This study is being published early online to coincide with its presentation at the Annual Research Meeting of AcademyHealth.

"In the United States, some adults may be eligible to enroll simultaneously in 2 federally funded managed care systems: the Medicare Advantage (MA) program administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Veterans Healthcare System (VA) administered by the Veterans Health Administration in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs," according to background information in the article. "Dual enrollment in the VA and MA presents a vexing policy problem. The federal government's payments to private MA plans assume that these plans are responsible for providing comprehensive care for their enrollees and are solely responsible for paying the costs of Medicare-covered services. If enrollees in MA plans simultaneously receive Medicare-covered services from another federally-funded hospital or other health care facility, and this facility cannot be reimbursed, then the government has made 2 payments for the same service."

Amal N. Trivedi, M.D., M.P.H., of the Providence VA Medical Center and Brown University, Providence, R.I., and colleagues examined the prevalence of dual enrollment, the use of outpatient and acute inpatient care in the VA and MA, and the costs of Medicare-covered services incurred by the VA to care for MA enrollees. The study included a retrospective analysis of 1,245,657 veterans simultaneously enrolled in the VA and an MA plan between 2004-2009.

The number of dual enrollees increased from 485,651 in 2004 to 924,792
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Contact: David Orenstein
david_orenstein@brown.edu
401-863-1862
JAMA and Archives Journals
Source:Eurekalert

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