Insurance brokers offered gifts, cash for selling employer health plans
Insurance companies are offering big payouts to top-selling brokers. Bonuses can be as high as $100,000 per group and incentives include trips and experiences, reported National Public Radio.
While the commissions technically come from the insurance companies, the cost is actually built into the premiums that the employers are paying. Therefore, industry payments can heavily influence which plans brokers push to advertise when making a sale.
"If you want to draw a straight conclusion: It has been in the best interest of a broker, from a financial point of view, to keep that premium moving up," Jeffrey Hogan, a regional manager in Connecticut for a national insurance brokerage, told NPR. (NPR)
U.S. joins false claims suit against Arriva for Medicare kickbacks
The U.S. has joined a False Claims lawsuit against Arriva Medical LLC and its parent company, Alere Inc. The Department of Justice alleges that Arriva filed false claims to Medicare for medically unnecessary glucometers and paid kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries in the form of copayment waivers and glucometers.
Arriva, a mail-order diabetic testing supply company, was acquired by Alere, a medical device company, in 2011. Both entities were acquired by Abbott Laboratories in September 2017, after the alleged conduct occurred. As a result, in October 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services revoked Arriva’s billing number and Arriva stopped operating altogether in December of 2017.
“Medicare rules bar payment for medically unnecessary services and supplies,” Derrick L. Jackson, special agent in charge at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General, said. “Such schemes only benefit suppliers billing for products that patients neither want nor need.” (Announcement)
CMS launches podcast for beneficiaries
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has launched a podcast discussing agency updates and policies via a new platform.
The show, "CMS: Beyond the Policy," was created in direct response to stakeholders’ suggestions for a modern, user-friendly channel for relaying information about agency programs. Episodes will feature a range of subject-matter experts and CMS Administrator Seema Verma. The inaugural episode will focus on evaluation and management coding. (Announcement)