For individuals enrolled in both the federally-funded Veterans Administration (VA) and Medicare Advantage (MA) healthcare programs, U.S. taxpayers are paying duplicate costs to cover the medical insurance.
Med Page Today reports a study found that approximately $13 billion in duplicate payments was made between 2004 and 2009 to the programs in order to cover the costs of dually enrolled individuals. The study was featured online in the Journal of the American Medical Association and said that since older Americans are eligible to be covered by both programs, these can overlap and difficulties can arise. As both the VA and MA programs are funded by the government, this ultimately puts the costs on U.S. taxpayers, says Med Page Today.
According to Reuters, a variety of databases was studied to determine how many individuals were enrolled in both programs. The study found that the number of veterans enrolled in both VA and MA plans almost doubled during the time period, from approximately 485,000 in 2004 to 925,000 in 2009.
"The government is paying twice," Harvard professor of public policy Amitabh Chandra told the news source. "An intelligent person would not design a program in a way these people tell us is going on."