Trending News Today: Patients Improperly Billed for Medicare, Medicaid

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Many people who need long-term care in nursing homes or assisted living facilities turn to Medicaid for financial assistance. Because this care can cost more than $91,000, people will transfer assets or spend down so they qualify for Medicaid coverage, according to Kaiser Health News. With the growing amount of seniors requiring this care, Medicaid may find themselves financially strained if prices are not lowered.

A recent study found that opioid-related medical services have increased 3000%, from 217,000 services in 2007 to 7 million in 2014, Kaiser Health News reported. A diagnosis of opioid dependency increases primary care visits, lab tests, and other therapies. Researchers also found that patients in their 40s and 50s were more likely to have an opioid dependency diagnosis.

Physicians have been improperly billing patients who are qualified for both Medicare and Medicaid services. These patients, who are age 65 and older, disabled, or have low incomes, were charged for copayments and other costs from which they should be exempted, according to The New York Times. Physicians who continue to bill these patients have been warned by the federal government that they could face fines and exclusion from Medicare.